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Posted on: March 21, 2022
Uncover the Truth About Root Canal Treatment
Learn more about this misunderstood procedure, so you’ll feel more comfortable if your dentist recommends a root canal. Many people believe the treatment is painful, but it isn’t. In fact, root canals relieve pain, which can be severe. There’s nothing to fear; a dentist wouldn’t suggest one if he or she had a better option for saving the tooth. Dentists don’t want to just pull teeth out of your mouth as a having a missing tooth is not ideal for your dental health.
What Are Reasons for Having Root Canal Therapy?
If you have a tooth with a deep cavity, a fracture in it, or with a failed filling, bacteria can reach the pulp inside of the tooth. The bacteria will create an infection in the pulp, causing significant pain and other problems. The infection can do significant damage to the surrounding teeth and even travel throughout the body. A root canal treatment removes the pulp, and with it, the infection. It will save the tooth, since the only other way a dentist has to remove pulp is to extract the whole tooth.
What Questions Should I Ask About Root Canals?
Your dentist and his or her staff will be happy to answer any questions you have, including:
- Is a root canal right for me?
- How will my tooth feel after the procedure?
- Are there any other treatments available that will work as well?
- What goes on during a root canal procedure?
- How long until I have a fully functional tooth again?
- Will I be numb during my root canal?
- What are the risks?
- Will this make my tooth as strong as it was before?
- What will a root canal procedure cost?
- Will dental insurance cover some of the cost?
What Are the Most Obvious Signs Indicating That You May Need a Root Canal?
Only a dentist can tell you if you need a root canal, but the typical symptoms of a tooth with infected pulp include:
- Substantial tooth pain which keeps you awake at night. You know the difference between this pain and run of the mill pain. If you can’t sleep, call your dentist the next morning.
- Swollen gums can indicate a number of issues, starting with gingivitis. However, with swollen gums it very clearly means that something is affecting your dental health.
- Your cheek appears swollen on the side where the affected tooth is located. This means that the infection is very serious and should be looked at right away.
- Pain when you touch the tooth. A painful tooth could be a number of things, like a cavity, but it’s always best to get it checked out when it is painful.
- A bad taste in your mouth. You may just have bad breath, but this could also mean that you tooth is decaying, which is very bad.
Swollen lymph nodes. The lymph nodes are your bodies indicators that something is amiss. If they are swollen, you have an infection of some kind.
- A pimple on your gum above the tooth.
- Extreme sensitivity to hot and cold that is long-lasting. Be sure to talk to your dentist if this came on suddenly and has not gone away.
- A darkened tooth. The tooth is most likely decaying and dying. It should be fixed right away.
Find an affordable dentist and schedule an exam if you have any of these symptoms.
What Are the Steps Involved in Having Root Canal Therapy?
If an exam and x-rays show you need root canal therapy, you can expect the procedure to have the following steps:
Numbing the Tooth
The dentist will numb your tooth with an injection of a local anesthetic. The tooth may take a long time to become numb if it’s severely infected. Your dentist won’t start the procedure until you’re numb.
Taking the Pulp Out of the Tooth
After isolating the tooth with a dental dam, your dentist will have to drill a hole in your tooth so he or she can access the pulp. Dentists use small files to remove the pulp, flushing the canals out throughout the procedure. Once the pulp is out, your dentist will shape the canals and disinfect them.
Filling the Canals
Once the pulp canals are clean and dry, your dentist will fill them with gutta-percha, a rubbery material. The hole drilled to reach the pulp is closed with a temporary filling.
Planning for Your Crown
Your dentist may take an impression of the tooth to have a custom crown made for you. It can take several weeks for the crown to be ready, so you’ll need a second appointment.
Most root canal procedures take 30 to 90 minutes. The more roots a tooth has, the longer treatment will take.
How Will My Tooth Feel After Having a Root Canal?
As the local anesthesia wears off, you may notice some sensitivity in the area. This will go away in two or three days. In the meantime, you can take an over-the-counter pain killer. If you experience intense pain, you should call your dentist, as this isn’t normal.
What Can I Do to Help With My Healing?
Your healing should be smooth if you follow these tips:
- Do not eat any food until the numbness wears off. You wouldn’t want to bite your tongue.
- Avoid chewing any hard foods on the side you your mouth where the treated tooth is until you have a crown on the tooth.
- Follow all the instructions your dentist gives you.
- Practice your regular dental hygiene routine, just be gentle on the treated tooth.
- You can go back to work or school on the same day, but rest at home if you can. A well-rested body heals quicker.
What’s the Last Step?
After the root canal procedure, your tooth will be weaker than it was before. A crown is almost always necessary to restore the tooth’s strength and integrity. Your affordable dentist can help you by fabricating a crown that blends in well with your other teeth. No one will realize you have a crown completely covering your natural tooth.