Single Canal Root Canals
Root canals are a treatment used to save a tooth that has been chipped or is infected with bacteria. A canal is the part of the tooth where the pulp and roots grow. Some teeth have one canal. Your dentist can perform single canal root canals. Many teeth have a single canal including incisors, canines, and some pre-molars. When those canals are infected, it can cause the patient a lot of pain.
Some teeth have several canals. If you need a root canal for a tooth with multiple roots, like a molar, a dentist will usually refer you to an endodontist, a doctor who specializes in working on the inside of the tooth.
The root canal procedure was developed in the 17th Century and has allowed many patients to keep their natural teeth, rather than using teeth dentures. Root canals have a bad reputation for being a painful procedure. This isn't really true. Modern anesthetics allow most patients to come through the procedure comfortably.
How to Treat Single Root Canals
Root canals are recommended to save the natural tooth from decay or infection and to eliminate a painful toothache. You may need a root canal if you have:
- prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold
- discoloration in your tooth
- tenderness to touching or chewing
- if there is drainage near the gum tissues
- if your dentist says you need one
The procedure of a root canal consists of several steps.
- After numbing the area, we create an opening in the crown to allow access to the inside of the tooth.
- We remove the infected pulp and tissue and replace it with a resin called gutta-percha. Gutta-percha seals off the filled area of the tooth, which prevents infection.
- Once the area is cleaned and sealed, the tooth is repaired. At this point, your tooth will remain fragile and susceptible to damage like cracking.
- When single root canals are performed at our Albuquerque office, we immediately apply a crown. If an endodontist performed your root canal, make an appointment as soon as possible for us to install your crown. A delay can result in damage to the tooth and more pain for you.
Once the crown is applied, the tooth can function like any other tooth. You should continue to brush and floss the area.
After a root canal, your mouth may be tender or sore for a few days as a result of the medication used to numb your mouth and because you had your mouth open for a long time. You may be given a prescription for painkillers for the few days after the procedure. Be sure to follow the instructions for safe use of these drugs.
The bottom line is that a root canal can help you keep your natural teeth healthy for years to come. It's a common procedure that your dentist can perform in one or two visits. See your dentist regularly to keep your smile healthy.