The truth is that this is actually quite normal; in fact, most dentists prefer to carry out root canals over the course of two separate appointments. Continue reading to discover why.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is needed when damage in the tooth has penetrated the outer layers of enamel and caused damage to the tooth’s internal nerve. Prior to having a root canal treatment done, the patient is likely to experience extreme sensitivity to hot and cold, and may feel pain when applying pressure to the tooth.
Two Separate Appointments
To complete the root canal procedure, the dentist will first use local anesthesia to ensure that the patient is completely numb. They will then remove all signs of decay in the tooth. They will then enter the tooth’s canal and remove the nerve before cleaning and irrigating the site. The tooth will then be filled with a substance known as gutta percha in order to prevent the tooth from becoming infected once more. The tooth is then sealed up with a large protective temporary filling. It’s then that the patient is asked to return for their next appointment.
During the second appointment, the temporary filling is removed. The tooth is then filled with a permanent filling. If the dentist deems necessary, prior to the filling being placed, a pin will be placed inside the tooth to ensure its integrity. After the tooth is filled, the dentist will have an x-ray taken for post-operative documentation and to ensure that the root canal has been successfully completed.
A second appointment may sometimes also be needed for the following reasons:
- An obstruction within the canal that prevents the dentist from reaching the end of the canal
- Calcified canals
- If the tooth is infected, time may be needed in order to allow infection to completely clear. The dentist will place medicine that promotes the healing and clearing of the infection and will resume treatment when the infection has gone.
- In special instances, there may be an extra canal that requires the dentist to dedicate more time for the treatment.
What If I Need a Crown?
If the tooth is to be fit for a crown in order to protect the root canal, measurements are taken around the tooth and the dentist will begin shaving away to round the tooth off and prepare it for a crown. The patient will be given a temporary crown to leave the office with and will receive their permanent crown after it returns from the lab for fabrication, which usually takes a week or two.
The root canal procedure is completed in two separate visits to ensure that the tooth is thoroughly cleaned out, sealed up, and protected from further damage. If you have questions about what you can expect for your experience during root canal treatment, speak with your trusted dentist at Willow Glen Dental Specialists (WGDS).