Root canals are little passages that run from just below the top of a tooth to the tip of the tooth’s root. Every tooth has between one and four root canals. When the inside of a tooth becomes infected, the infection can spread along these passageways or canals and cause pain. A root canal treatment includes removing the infected tissue, preventing the further spread of the infection and restoring the healthy part of the tooth.
A root canal treatment may be called for whenever the inner portion of a tooth is infected. If an infection is too deep for a cavity to fix, a root canal treatment might be the best course of action. Often, it’s the only way to treat an inner tooth infection without extracting the tooth.
A typical root canal treatment may take a few hours as patients often need time to receive anesthesia before and recover after the procedure itself. Most root canal treatments, however, are performed as outpatient procedures, which means patients go home the same day. Recovery may take a few days, but patients are usually free to rest in the comfort of their home. Additionally, some patients may feel comfortable enough to continue with their normal routines, including work, while they recover.
Root canal treatments are considered safe and routinely performed by oral surgeons. In fact, the procedure has an extremely high success rate. Dr. Drummond himself has successfully performed many root canal treatments for patients who live in and around Fairfax.
Root canal therapy usually entails one to three visits. During the first visit, a small hole is drilled through the top of the tooth and into the inner chamber. Diseased tissue is removed, the inner chamber cleansed and disinfected, and the tiny canals reshaped. The cleansed chamber and canals are filled with an elastic material and medication designed to prevent infection.