Root Canals

woman on dentist chair

Root canals are restorative dental procedures used as a last resort to save a severely decayed tooth. They become essential when the innermost pulp layer has become infected and are performed to prevent the infection from spreading. During a root canal, the infected and decayed tissue is removed from the inside of the tooth. The tooth is then restored by having a dental crown placed in order to protect it. 

Did You Know?

When the pulp layer becomes infected, this is called pulpitis. Pulpitis causes the inside of the tooth to eventually die, which leads to decayed tissue being contained within the tooth. This can cause the tooth to appear grey or black in color. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Do I need a root canal?

Discolored Tooth

You may need a root canal if you are experiencing severe tooth pain or tooth pain that has come on suddenly. Tooth pain may also take the form of tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, as well as foods or beverages containing sugar. The affected tooth may also appear darker in color and the gums around it may be swollen or produce a discharge. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you will want to schedule an appointment with your Kamloops dentist to determine if a root canal or other treatment is needed. 

How are root canals performed at my Kamloops dental office?

First and foremost, all our root canals are performed with dental anesthetics and the option of dental sedation in varying levels. Prior to your root canal appointment, you can discuss the possibility of dental sedation, as well as which level of sedation is best for you. 

Root canals will only begin once the dental anesthetic is actively making your mouth numb to ensure your comfort. To access the inside of your tooth, a dental drill will be used to make a small access hole in the top of your tooth. The remainder of the procedure will be performed through this hole. 

Once inside the tooth, the decayed and infected tissue will be removed from the pulp chamber and root canals using different sizes of root canal files. Depending on how small and curved your root canals are, this step may take awhile while your dentist carefully cleans out the root canals. After removing all the decayed and infected tissue, the remaining chamber and canals will be flushed with a microbial solution to reduce the risk of developing decay in the future. 

root canal process

How will my tooth be restored after a root canal?

Since your tooth is now hollow on the inside and has a tiny hole in it, the next step is to restore the affected tooth. This is accomplished by first filling the inside of the tooth with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. In some cases, one or more metal posts may also be placed inside the tooth as a way of providing additional support. A dental filling, usually made with composite resin, will then be used to seal the access hole. Then, a dental crown is generally adhered over the entire tooth to protect it from damage or future decay. 

Depending on the type of dental crown you are getting, your tooth will likely need to be prepared for the crown by being reduced slightly in size. This allows your permanent crown to fit more naturally and comfortably. After your tooth has been prepared, a dental impression or oral scan will be taken of your mouth and sent to a dental lab. A temporary crown will be placed until your permanent crown has been fabricated and can be cemented in place. 

What happens after a root canal?

After your root canal, you may experience some minor discomfort as the anesthetics wear off. This is normal, especially if you experienced painful symptoms before the procedure. While many people incorrectly attribute this discomfort to the root canal procedure, it is actually a result of the inflammation caused by the infection. Even though the infection has been removed, it will take a day or two before the inflammation decreases. During this time, you may want to stick to a soft foods diet to avoid making your discomfort worse. Additionally, if you have a temporary crown, you will also want to chew on the opposite of your mouth to prevent the crown from becoming loose or falling out. 

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