Most people think that if you have cavities you only have one option: get your teeth extracted. What most people don’t know is that experts like Dr. Barber at Alliance Family Dental in Fayetteville, NC can treat damaged teeth using other alternatives, including root canal treatment.

To understand a root canal, you must first understand what a tooth is made of. You may think that it’s just a mass of bone tissue, but it is actually composed of different layers: the enamel, the dentin, and the pulp. Only the enamel (the outermost layer) is hard enough to withstand abuse; the others have softer tissues, blood vessels, and nerves that make up the rest of the tooth. Once the enamel has been eroded by bacteria or wear and tear, the other layers are left vulnerable to damage.

Root canal treatments are performed when tooth decay has already destroyed the dentin and the pulp. The procedure is done by removing the damaged pulp from the center of the tooth and filling up the cavity with a special resin. This procedure helps prevent bacteria from causing more tissue damage; gets rid of unbearable pain; and cleans out substances like abscess and decaying tooth matter.

What Happens in the Procedure

Step 1: Dr. Barber starts a root canal treatment by anesthetizing the tooth with a jelly-like substance to help numb the gums. Once the gums are numbed, a local anesthetic is injected to numb the teeth, gums, and tongue. People who are afraid of needles or syringes can ask for a sedative prior to the procedure to prevent them from being too scared or anxious during the procedure.

Step 2: Dr. Barber then places a “rubber dam” around the tooth to prevent saliva from entering the mouth or throat. This is done to prevent possible infections, since different types of bacteria can be found in saliva.

Step 3: Dr. Barber will drill a hole through the enamel and dentin to expose the pulp. A series of thin files are used to carefully scrape and pull the pulp tissue until the root canal is perfectly hollowed out. Temporary filling material is inserted to serve as temporary replacement for the removed tissue, but these are eventually replaced by stronger permanent fillings.

Root canal treatments are safe and virtually painless, provided they are performed by a professional dentist in Fayetteville, NC like Dr. Patrice A. Barber.