When a tooth develops decay, a cavity forms. It’s important to treat tooth cavities with dental fillings because if not, the decay can deepen and reach the tooth canal. At this point, simply a filling will not be sufficient to treat it; a root canal will become necessary to save the tooth and prevent the need for an extraction.
Depending on the condition of the infected tooth, a root canal can be performed in one or two visits. A local anesthetic will be used to numb the infected area to minimize pain and discomfort. A protective sheet called a dental dam will be placed around the area to keep it clean and free of saliva during the procedure. A hole with then be created in the tooth in order to access the canal. The damaged pulp will be cleared out and the canal thoroughly cleaned. After the newly-cleaned canal is shaped, it will be filled with a biocompatible material, usually gutta-percha. This restores the structure and functionality to the tooth. The opening will then be covered with a filling or a crown.
It’s important to follow after-care instructions to ensure that the tooth properly heals. A follow-up appointment can help detect possible problems and treat them as necessary.