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A root canal is a dental treatment that can be used to save a tooth’s structure despite significant damage to the tooth. If your dentist has recommended that you undergo root canal therapy, you may be wondering what this type of dental care will involve. Once you schedule an appointment at your dental office in Lake Stevens, WA, check out the information below to learn about the process your dentist will use to preserve your tooth.

root canal treatment diagram

Diagnosing the Damage

During a routine tooth exam, your dentist may notice damage to one of your teeth. If he or she suspects that the dental pulp in that tooth has become damaged, X-rays will be used to get a look at the interior of the tooth. If the tooth has damage that has reached the pulp chamber or root canals, your dentist will recommend root canal therapy to remove the tooth pulp and seal the root canals, helping to prevent the spread of infection and ultimately, the loss of the tooth.

Cleaning Out the Tooth

To access the root canals of your tooth, your dentist will use a small drill. Then, he or she will completely remove the dental pulp, leaving the pulp chamber and root canals clean and free of infected tissue. Your dentist may place medication directly into the root canals to completely eliminate any infection, and then the root canals will be allowed to dry. Your dentist may place a temporary crown or filling to protect the tooth until your next appointment.

Filling and Sealing the Tooth

When you return to your dentist for the final step of the root canal process, he or she will fill the empty pulp chamber and root canals with a special compound. The access hole will then be covered with a filling. In order to protect the remaining structure of the tooth, your dentist will cover it with a crown. This is a type of artificial tooth that is custom-made to match your natural teeth perfectly. Once root canal therapy is complete, you will be better able to avoid the loss of the tooth and the need for a dental implant, dental bridge, or other tooth replacement option.