Root Canals Explained

November 22, 2021 Jeffrey T. Baker, DDS PC

Dental anxiety can be a major obstacle for a lot of people when it comes to getting the care they need. This is especially true for root canals which have gotten a bad reputation over the years. Thanks to advancements in technology and anesthesia, this procedure has completely transformed. If you need a root canal, but feel paralyzed or held back by fear, our Shelby Township, MI, dentists can help restore your oral health.

Here’s what you should know about the root canal procedure.

Root Canal Dentists In Shelby Township Mi

Purpose of a Root Canal

Root canals may save you from tooth extraction but only if the procedure is done early enough. The overall reason for performing the treatment is to stop an infection of the inner pulp tissue from spreading elsewhere, rinse away bacteria, and clean out the inside of the tooth.

You May Need a Root Canal If:

Generally, root canal treatment is recommended if the soft tissue inside of your tooth, the pulp, becomes inflamed or infected. Deep decay, a crack in the tooth, oral injury, an ignored cavity, and repeat dental procedures on the tooth in question can result in a later infection.

If you do have advanced tooth decay and an infected root canal, you may have a dental abscess which is a buildup of pus that can cause:

  • Pain while chewing
  • Severe toothache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Difficulty swallowing

If you see a pimple-like swelling protruding from your gums this can be a sign of a dental abscess. The abscess may burst, in which case you’ll likely feel some pain relief, but you still need to see our dentists as soon as possible because the bacteria can now spread easier.

The Procedure

Root canal procedures have a number of steps to them. First, we will take X-rays of the affected area. Next, we’ll numb the tooth, nerves, and gums so you don’t feel any pain. You may feel a pinch at first, but this is only to inject the anesthetic.

Our dentists will then place a dental dam, or a small rubber sheet, in your mouth to protect the affected tooth and keep it clear and dry for the duration of the procedure. Using a specialized drill, we will open up the top of the tooth and extract the infected pulp from inside the tooth with other small tools.

The pulp cavity and root canals are then thoroughly cleaned out and disinfected. After all the debris has been removed and the internal tooth has been properly treated, the tooth is filled with gutta percha, a rubber-like filling originally derived from the Malaysian percha tree. Lastly, a permanent dental crown is fitted to the tooth.

Root Canal Alternatives

While there aren’t many options for alternative procedures, there are a couple. If your tooth is too severely decayed, our dentists may recommend a tooth extraction. In this case, you’ll need to schedule another appointment to get that tooth replaced with a dental implant or bridge.

A pulpectomy is similar to a root canal, except there’s no permanent crown placed on the tooth. This procedure is generally only for children that have excessive tooth decay/trauma who haven’t had their permanent teeth come in yet.

Request an Appointment

Our dentists in Shelby Township, MI want to relieve you of oral pain caused by severe tooth decay, a dental abscess, or a build-up of bacteria and plaque. Call the dental office of Jeffrey T. Baker DDS PC at (586) 992-9222 to schedule an appointment with us if you are in need of a root canal.

This blog post has been updated.

R e q u e s t

Contact our Grand Rapids pediatric dentist Get Started

A p p o i n t m e n t