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Posted on: March 15, 2022
The Facts About Root Canal Treatment
There are a number of misconceptions out there when it comes to root canals. It’s unfortunate because root canals are actually one of the most common types of dental procedures that people undergo. Let’s dive deeper into root canal treatment so that you have a better understanding of this common and misconstrued treatment.
Why Do People Get Root Canals?
Generally, people need root canals after decay or an infection causes damage to the inner pulp of their teeth. When this happens, severe tooth pain is common. Thankfully, root canals can eliminate this pain by removing the infected pulp and cleaning the inside of the tooth.
If you have severe tooth pain, it’s important to visit a dentist. Once decay or an infection reaches the pulp, you need treatment right away. Failure to get treatment can result in worsening pain.
If you wait too long, getting a root canal may not be an option. At that point, tooth removal is your only recourse.
How to Know If a Root Canal Is Right for You
Now that you know a bit more about root canals and why they’re important, is a root canal right for you? Thankfully, your dentist will let you know if a root canal is necessary. If so, here are a few questions that you can ask at your next appointment to help you decide if a root canal is the best solution:
- Will there be any pain during the root canal procedure?
- Are any other options a better fit than a root canal?
- What does root canal treatment involve?
- From start to finish, how long does a root canal take?
- Will I be under anesthetics during the treatment?
- What are some, if any, risks of having a root canal?
- What will a root canal cost?
- Will my insurance cover a root canal?
- After the procedure, will my tooth be just as strong as it was?
After getting answers to these questions, you should have a better idea about if a root canal is right for you. If not, you could discuss other treatment options with your dentist. However, you may be shocked to learn that root canals are fast and virtually painless.
What Are Some Warning Signs You Should Never Ignore?
If you get regular dental checkups, your dentist should catch any early warning signs of serious dental problems. That said, what happens if you experience dire warning signs in between dental visits? Do certain signs warrant visiting the dentist right away?
Yes, a few serious signs indicate that you should visit your dentist as soon as possible. The dentist will be able to determine if getting a root canal can remedy the problem. You should schedule an urgent dental visit if you experience:
- Extreme tooth pain or pain that remains persistent.
- Red or severely swollen gums.
- Gums or teeth that are sensitive or tender when you touch them.
- Tooth pain that lingers after exposure to hot or cold.
- Tooth discoloration.
- Tiny bumps that form on the gums around the area where you have tooth pain.
Understanding the Root Canal Procedure: A Step-by-step Guide
It’s common for people to fear what they don’t understand. To put your mind at ease about getting a root canal, here’s a step-by-step guide to this painless procedure.
The first step starts with detecting an infection within the tooth pulp. Once a tooth becomes severely damaged or infected, a root canal is needed.
Signs of this usually include tooth pain, swelling and redness of the gums around the tooth. If you have these symptoms, visit your dentist right away to determine if you need a root canal.
Starting the Root Canal
Keep in mind that the whole root canal procedure is almost painless. In fact, a root canal can relieve the pain that you feel.
To start the procedure, the dentist will numb the gums and nerves around the affected tooth. During this part, you may feel a sting and pressure at the injection site for a few seconds. Afterward, the area will be numb.
Removing the Infected Pulp
With the area numb, an opening can be made in the tooth to give the dentist access to the inner pulp. Then, the dentist will remove the damaged or infected pulp. During this process, the dentist will also clean the inside of the tooth.
Filling and Restoring the Tooth
With the inside of the tooth clean, the dentist will fill it with a permanent filling. Afterward, a temporary crown is attached to seal the tooth. Shortly after the procedure, you’ll return to the dentist to get a permanent crown.
What to Expect After Your Root Canal
For a few days after a root canal, it’s normal to experience a bit of tenderness or tingling around the treated tooth. This is the healing process. Thankfully, these symptoms are mild and can typically be treated using over-the-counter pain relievers.
If you experience serious pain during the healing process, you should visit your dentist again. While rare, it could be a sign that something went wrong during the procedure, so you should have your dentist take a look.
Otherwise, follow the instructions that your dentist gives you to speed up the recovery process. Usually, these instructions involve not eating anything until the anesthetic used to numb your mouth wears off. Also, avoid chewing or biting around the treated tooth until it’s fully healed.
It’s important that you continue to floss and brush your teeth like you normally would as well. Just be careful around the tooth that was treated because flossing and brushing too hard may irritate it.
Schedule Follow-up Care
As said above, you’ll need to return to the dentist after your root canal to get the final crown put on. The permanent crown will be the long-term protection for your tooth. This follow-up appointment is often scheduled right after your root canal.
Don’t live with tooth pain any longer. Reach out to us today so that our dentist can give you a full dental exam. We can help you decide if a root canal is right for you.