How Your Dentist Will Perform A Root Canal On Your Tooth

Getting a root canal is similar to getting a cavity filled, except the work is performed inside the roots of the tooth. The procedure is needed when the canals become infected, and, while most people do not enjoy getting a root canal, it is often the only way to stop an infection and save a tooth. If you are preparing for a root canal, this is what the dentist will do to fix the infected canals of your tooth.

Locate The Canals

To perform a root canal, the dentist must take x-rays to determine several things. The first thing the dentist looks for is signs of infection in the root canals. If there is no infection, a root canal is not needed. The infection typically shows up black or darkened in color on the x-rays.

The second thing a dentist looks for is the number of canals the tooth has. A normal tooth has between one and three canals. While each tooth in your mouth normally has a certain number of canals, the number can vary, and this is why the dentist will want to see x-rays of your tooth along with its roots.

Access The Canals

Once the dentist understands what work is needed, he or she will make a small hole in the tooth to have access to these canals. Once the dentist makes the hole, he or she will use small tools to locate the roots. The dentist will also use these tools to scrape the pulp out of each canal. The dentist must make sure he or she removes all the pulp from the canals in order to stop the infection from returning. If even a small amount remains, it can spread quickly.

This is one reason many dentists perform root canals in two steps. The first step of accessing and cleaning the canals is often done at the first appointment. Several weeks later, the dentist will then complete the root canal by filling in the canals.

Fill In The Canals

Once the dentist is certain that the canals are clean, he or she will finish the treatment by placing a material called gutta-percha inside the canals. This material hardens once it is pushed in place, and it prevents the roots from getting infected in the future.

Root canals are helpful procedures in dentistry, and they are often the only procedure available to save a tooth. If you would like more information about this, check out and contact a dentist that specializes in root canal treatment.