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.
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.