What Is Involved in a Front Tooth Root Canal?

A cross section of a tooth.
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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Though less common than a root canal performed on a rear tooth, a front tooth root canal is still a common dental procedure. An infection in the pulp of the tooth necessitates the procedure, which, when completed, almost always saves the affected tooth for the duration of the patient’s life. The idea of a root canal may cause fear of pain and a long, involved ordeal, but the reality is that these procedures are often not much more uncomfortable than receiving a filling.

The dentist begins by taking an x-ray of the affected tooth. Once the dentist knows the layout of the interior of the tooth, the exterior of it will be isolated from the rest of the mouth using a rubber guard. This helps keep the tooth dry and sanitary while the front tooth root canal procedure is performed.

A hole is drilled into the back surface of the affected tooth. This hole gives the dentist access to the root canal, which is cleaned out using a series of small files. The dentist inserts a file down the entire length of the root, scraping out the infected debris. Periodically, the dentist will stop filing and use a wash comprised of a cleaner, usually dilute bleach, to flush loosened debris from the root canal.

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Once the tooth has been cleaned, the pulp and nerve of the tooth are completely removed. Though this means the tooth does not have any feeling, such as a sensation of hot or cold, removing the nerve does not have a significant effect on the health of the tooth once it is finished growing. The tooth is filled with a compound that helps strengthen it while keeping any future infection from developing.

The tooth needs to be sealed off once the front tooth root canal is completed. This is usually done with a filling though it is possible to attach a crown. Front tooth crowns are usually made of all-ceramic or all-porcelain materials in order to give them the same look as the other teeth, though it is possible to put a metal crown on a front tooth. The tooth may receive a temporary filling or crown after the front tooth root canal procedure if the dentist determines that it would be better to wait a week to fix the tooth permanently.

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Discuss this Article

anon948193
Post 4

@ MrsPramm: That's why they invented sedation! If you take oral sedation (triazolam) you will not remember the appointment, or getting home from it! Then you sleep for about six hours after! It's great stuff!

croydon
Post 3

@MrsPramm - If you know someone who is putting it off, please tell them to get it done as soon as possible. People don't consider a root canal infection to be a real threat, but it's an infection just like any other. And any infection can cause health problems, or even threaten your life if you don't treat it properly.

MrsPramm
Post 2

@irontoenail - Even if it isn't painful, the root canal process is not fun at all. I don't think it's anything like just getting a filling. It takes a couple of hours and you're having to sit there with your mouth open the whole time, listening to the drill and the scraping and feeling the pressure, if not the pain, of the dentist removing the root of your tooth.

I'm sure it ends up being a relief for a lot of people in the end, because an infected tooth is extremely painful as well, but there's a good reason people put them off for a long time.

irontoenail
Post 1

I suspect that people think of getting a root canal as being the worst thing that can happen at a dentist because it used to be a lot more painful. Imagine having a living nerve removed without anesthesia and you can see why people would dread them.

But pain killers are so good now it's essentially the same as any other procedure at the dentist, and if it's done properly, it will probably stop hurting sooner than procedures like wisdom tooth removal.

If you have ongoing pain after a root canal it's likely that something went wrong. Very few dentists are perfect, so if you suspect that something has gone wrong, don't be afraid to speak up about it.

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