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Root canal: Purpose and procedure

Although many patients claim to dread the root canal, it’s actually an important tooth-preserving dental procedure.

A root canal may be necessary in Barrie Ontario when a patient has suffered significant trauma to the tooth or when advanced decay is encroaching on the tooth’s nerve center, which is located in the middle of the pulp. Structurally, the tooth’s root canal is the natural tooth cavity that houses the nerve center and the pulp.

In performing a root canal procedure, the dentist creates an opening in the tooth to access the cavity and then clears the pulp and infected nerve from the root canal cavity. That cavity is then filled in with a rubbery substance called gutta percha and a filling is placed in the opening.

By clearing out infection in the tooth’s nerve, the root canal helps to prevent abscesses and bone loss that can be caused by the bacteria that are present.

The dentist administers a local anesthetic prior to the root canal, which will greatly reduce any discomfort associated with the procedure. In fact, many patients have said that a root canal is similar to getting a filling in terms of discomfort. The dentist may also prescribe a prophylactic antibiotic to reduce the likelihood of infection after your root canal.

If you are particularly anxious about the procedure, you may choose to have it done while you are under sedation so that you can remain deeply relaxed throughout the duration of your appointment.

After the root canal is completed, the tooth is typically fitted with a crown as a protective measure to strengthen the tooth. A tooth that is left unprotected after a root canal is more prone to breakage.

If a root canal has been recommended in your case but you’re hesitant to have the procedure, talk with our dentistry team for a thorough explanation of what is involved and the amount of discomfort you should expect. Having that information may go a long way in alleviating your fears.

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