When there is deep decay in a tooth, there are two options. The first option is to remove the tooth, which could be a simple or surgical extraction. The second choice is root canal therapy, which involves cleaning the tooth from the inside and sealing it to prevent extraction. Dentists usually do their best to preserve natural teeth, and therefore, the procedure is always a preferred choice. If you are visiting a dentist in Fort Walton Beach for root canal therapy, here is a step-by-step guide to the treatment.

  1. Preparing the tooth: Your dentist will first take X-rays of your tooth to determine the extent of the decay. The X-rays are helpful for planning the treatment. Next, they will use injections to numb the tooth and surrounding gums. Local anesthesia is enough for root canal therapy.
  2. Creating an access opening: The dentist will then place a rubber dam on the tooth to keep it dry and create an opening to access the root canals. You may experience some discomfort at this point, but there is usually no pain.  
  3. Cleaning the canals: The dentist will then use instruments called dental files to clean the root canals and the pulp chamber. They will also use a particular antiseptic solution to clean the inside of the tooth. All blood vessels, nerves, and decay are removed during this step.
  4. Shaping & filling the canals: The third step is to shape the canals, following which filling materials will be used to seal the tooth. It is common to use gutta-percha for the canals, along with adhesive cement. Sealing also prevents further bacterial growth.
  5. Prescribing antibiotics: Either during or before the procedure, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to speed up the healing process. You may feel some pain for a few days after root canal therapy, which can be counted with medications.

Getting a crown

Even when root canal therapy is successful, dentists usually recommend getting a crown. A dental crown will encase the tooth and keep it safe, besides restoring function, size, and shape. RCT is usually done in stages, and you may have to visit the clinic three to four times. Getting a crown takes two additional appointments, and it can take up to two weeks to get a custom dental crown from a lab. The crown will be permanently cemented to the tooth. Make sure to choose the right clinic for your dental care.