The phrase “root canal” is oftentimes very scary to most people. There are a lot of stories out there that make root canal therapy sound like a terrifying experience. Of course, it is important to remember that everyone perceives pain differently and what is incredibly painful to one person may not be that painful to another.
The best way to understand root canal therapy is to simply be more educated about it. When you know more about that treatment options out there, the better-informed decisions you can make for your own health and well-being. Today, we are going to cover the basics of a root canal treatment and what you can expect if you need root canal therapy.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is a treatment of the pulp of the tooth that is inflamed, infected or dead. The pulp is a soft substance in the middle of the tooth that consists of the nerve, blood vessels, and connective tissues. The pulp of the tooth can become infected by a severe cavity or a chipped tooth, and if/when that occurs, special treatment to remove the infection needs to be done. A root canal treatment removes the infection from the pulp, and then the tooth is filled and sealed to prevent bacteria from entering.
How do I know if I need a root canal?
There are a few specific symptoms that indicate the need for a root canal, but it is important that you make a dental appointment to first rule out any other causes. The first noticeable symptom is a toothache. You may notice severe sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures that does not go away even after its taken away from the tooth. The toothache may also come at random times when you are not even eating. Jaw pain and headaches may result from this as well.
Since toothaches can be the symptom of a few different problems, your dentist will want to do an exam and x-rays first. There are other instances, such as gum recession and even sinus pressure, that can create very similar symptoms. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you will want to set up an appointment as soon as you can.
What can I expect with my root canal treatment?
If we determine that you are in need of root canal therapy, we will set up a separate appointment for you to come in, if you do not want to go through with the procedure at that time. Before your procedure, we will give you anesthesia so that you do not feel any discomfort during the treatment. Next, we will isolate the tooth and then open it up to remove the infected or dead pulp. Your root canal is then cleaned, including any cracks and canals. After cleaning, the tooth is then filled with material to prohibit any bacteria from entering the tooth.
After your root canal therapy, it is common to experience some pain and discomfort around the tooth and gum. This pain usually subsides within a few days. Your tooth will be sensitive to biting pressure and it may even feel loose. Warm salt water rinses can sometimes alleviate the discomfort. During this healing time, you will want to eat softer foods and chew on the opposite side of your mouth to avoid any pain.
You will most likely be advised to take an over-the-counter medication to help with the pain; this, of course, is something the dentist will discuss with you based on your personal medical history. If you are prescribed any antibiotics, it is extremely important that you take these as instructed. Again, these post-op procedures will be discussed with you at that time based off of your own personal medical history.
If it is determined that you are in need of root canal therapy, we can perform the root canal in a much simpler, more comfortable procedure than that of the past. We use state-of-the-art technology that removes the infection or decay, repairing your tooth to a healthy state all with less discomfort and pain. If you suspect that you may be experiencing some root canal symptoms, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you feel better!