If the pulp inside of your tooth has become inflamed or infected, chances are you may need a root canal. We know this procedure can seem slightly daunting, but we can assure you that it is not as scary as you may have heard! Here are a few things you can expect if you need of a root canal.
Your dentist will analyze quite a few symptoms when determining if a root canal is necessary.
Before making the ultimate decision regarding whether or not a root canal is the best option for you, your dentist will analyze a few symptoms—specifically regarding pain. Does your tooth respond to hot and cold temperatures—if so, does that pain last for an hour or more? Does your tooth hurt when you lay down or jog in place? Does your pain sometimes onset spontaneously? Answering yes to any of these questions may be a sign that the inside your tooth is no longer salvageable. Your dentist will also check your gums to see if you have a fistula—a small pump that appears on the gum and may be infected. Finally, using an x-ray, your dentist will determine if you have an abscess, which appears when bone won’t grow around an infection of the root. Exhibiting any of these painful symptoms may be a sign that you need a root canal.
If your dentist says you need a root canal, it’s best to act quickly.
There are a number of reasons why you should not wait once it has been determined that you need a root canal. For starters, it is recommended that any infection is treated with antibiotics as soon as possible, even those found in the tooth. Also, waiting to get treatment will worsen dental pain as the infection worsens. Finally, treating a deep infection in the root quickly is essential, otherwise you risk the entire tooth having to be removed.
A root canal is actually not as painful as it is rumored to be.
Actually, with advances in modern technology, root canals aren’t any more painful than your average dental filling! Your dentist at Manus Dental will administer local anesthesia to ensure you don’t feel a thing during the procedure. That said, you may experience discomfort from having to keep your mouth open for the duration of the procedure. Therefore, we recommend listening to music or a podcast through your headphones so as to distract you through this process.
The procedure itself isn’t as scary as one might think!
The basic goal of the root canal is to remove inflamed or infected tissue (or pulp) from within the tooth. They will carefully clean out the inside of the tooth and seal it off to keep out possible further infection. Here’s how the process works:
- Your dentist will apply the local anesthetic so you don’t experience pain during the procedure.
- Then, your dentist will carefully open the top of your tooth with a tiny drill.
- They will use a small file to clean out the inside of the tooth, clearing away damaged and inflamed pulp from inside and inserting an antimicrobial solution to kill off harmful bacteria.
- Once the inside of the tooth is clean, your dentist will fill the hole with a rubber-like material, called gutta percha, and apply a temporary filling. (A few weeks after this procedure, your dentist will be able to place a permanent crown over the tooth.)
Being diligent about your aftercare will benefit you in the long run!
As you recover from your procedure, you may expect some pain (though this doesn’t always occur), however you’ll have a few weeks between the procedure and having the final, permanent crown placed over your tooth. For this reason, we strongly recommend keeping up a good dental hygiene routine to prevent infection or decay. You should also avoid chewing or biting with the treated tooth. Ultimately, root canals have a high success rate. If your tooth is taken care of properly (even after the crown is in place), you can expect the benefits of this procedure to last you a lifetime!
Are you experiencing dental pain? Contact Manus Dental to schedule your appointment straight away!