Medical Minute

Nov 21, 2011 1:21 PM by Shannon Newth (Great Falls)

Medical Minute: Root Canal

In today's Medical Minute, Dr. Schuyler Van Dyke of Sunset Dental Care in Conrad explains the often-dreaded dental procedure known as the root canal.

Dr. Van Dyke says the area surrounding the tooth being worked on should be numbed during the procedure so the patient does not feel pain at the site.

In the rare case a patient does feel pain, Dr. Van Dyke says the condition of the tooth would likely be so inflamed, making it difficult to numb the tooth.

Dr. Van Dyke explains the point of a root canal is to get into the tooth and remove the dead nerve.

After removing the nerve, the dentist then goes into the tooth's canals with special instrumentation to take out the rest of the nerve and blood vessels.

The next step is to clean out the canal with an antibacterial solution. Finally, a special filling material is placed into the empty root canal.

This procedure essentially makes the tooth unrecognizable to the blood stream because the canal is sealed off, according to Dr. Van Dyke.