There are two different types of root canal procedures that are performed on adults. The first occurs when the procedure is performed on a tooth for the first time. The second kind of procedure occurs when the dental surgeon must perform the same procedure on the same tooth. In some cases, children may also need to undergo root canal procedures.
A root canal is the space inside of the tooth that extends downward to the tip. The space inside of the tooth is also known as the pulp chamber. Procedures are performed on root canals when an infection or decay has reached the center of the tooth. Damage to the tooth that exposes the nerve can also be cause for a root canal procedure.
The first of the root canal procedures occurs when a tooth undergoes this treatment or therapy for the first time. The procedure often begins when the endodontist, a dentist who performs root canal procedures, uses a local anesthetic to numb this area of the inside of the mouth. This step is followed by the dentist's taking an x-ray of the damaged tooth. The dentist may then use a rubber dam in order to isolate it from surrounding teeth, tongue, and gums.
The dentist then drills a hole in the tooth. For a back tooth root canal, the hole is drilled into the top of the tooth. For front teeth, the hole is drilled in the back so that it will not be visible after the therapy. From this hole, the dentist removes any damaged tissue as well as the nerve. Once he or she is sure that the tooth has been completely cleaned, the endodontist seals the tooth.
The second of the root canal procedures is quite similar to the first. The primary difference is that in the second type of procedure, the same tooth is being operated on again. This can be more costly and time consuming. The endodontist must clean out the tooth and remove the filling from the first procedure then begin the procedure a second time.
A baby root canal procedure is one that is performed on a child when a cavity has reached the center of a tooth in his or her mouth. There are two types of baby root canal procedures. A pulpotomy procedure requires the dental specialist to remove the nerve from only the center of the tooth. The second kind of procedure, a pulpectomy, is one in which the dentist must remove the whole nerve that stretches from the center of the tooth down to the roots.