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The intended outcome of a root canal is to repair a seriously infected tooth as opposed to complete removal. Treatment is done by removing the infected pulp of the tooth, disinfecting it, and then filling it full of a rubber-like material and sealing it up.

Normally, the villain of a root canal is a bacterial infection that has invaded a tooth by piggybacking on some sort of trauma, a crack or developing a cavity. The term “root canal” is descriptive because of the need to drill right into the canal of the tooth’s root to access and clear out the bacteria.

Previously, root canal treatment was uncomfortable and widely feared by potential patients, but with advancements in dental tools and anesthesia, there is little discomfort involved. So, folks should not feel stressed about getting the treatment.

In some cases, multiple office visits are required for root canal treatment. Check with your dentist for verification. Below are the steps needed for treatment:

A) The dentist takes an x-ray and performs an examination to identify the offending tooth. Then a local anesthetic is administered to the gum and tissue surrounding the tooth via needle and syringe.

B) A dental dam, a thin rubber piece, is inserted around the tooth to isolate and keep it clean and dry during the procedure.

C) Using a small drill or laser tool, the endodontist or dentist makes a hole in the tooth so that he may access the infection and remove the diseased tissue.

D) Now cleared of infection, the empty cavity chamber is sanitized and shaped to be filled. The roots (canals) of the tooth are also cleaned and prepared to receive a rubbery material filling.

E) Finally, a temporary filling and/or cap is placed in the crown opening to protect the tooth between dental visits. In a secondary visit, a permanent cap replaces the temporary ones and the tooth is sealed.

Dr. Mark Andrews is proud to have performed many root canals and would be happy to use his expertise to ensure you have a comfortable experience with this procedure. If you have any questions, please contact us at: 425-821-8100, or make an appointment at Mark Andrews, D.D.S. in Kirkland, Washington.