The words root canal have earned an unfair reputation for being painful and uncomfortable, but in all actuality they are no more painful than having a cavity filled in. People have root canals done every day, and root canals have actually saved at least a million smiles a year.
What are the signs I need a root canal?
There are a number of symptoms that may indicate that you need a root canal, including:
- Severe toothache
- Prolonged sensitivity or pain when eating hot or cold foods
- Discolored teeth
- Swelling in the gums
- Draining fistula that appears on the gums near the tooth
What is the procedure for having a root canal?
In most cases, a root canal treatment will require multiples visits to our office before it is completed. During the first visit, our dentist will take a digital x-ray to determine if there is an infection in the tooth, as well as to see the shape of the root canal. A local anesthetic will be used to numb the area, and then a rubber dam will be placed in order to keep the area around the tooth dry.
Next, a small hole is drilled into your mouth. The hole is used to remove the dental pulp and decayed nerve tissue, debris, and bacteria from the area. This involves a series of root canal files being inserted through the hole down the length of the tooth. Once the tooth has been cleaned out, it is sealed. In some cases, the dentist may choose to make a second appointment to seal the tooth, which ensures that no infection remains. A temporary filling will be placed until you have the tooth sealed.
A crown is placed over the tooth to protect it damage since the procedure makes the teeth more fragile and prone to breaking. The crown helps restore the tooth completely and keeps it from breaking.
What happens after the root canal?
After the treatment is complete you should feel better. In fact, most patients report complete relief of pain after the treatment. There are specific aftercare instructions that need to be followed to prevent complications. Until there is a crown or until the tooth is permanently restored it is important to avoid chewing with the treated area. In the first few days after treatment you may experience some pain or discomfort that can be treated with over- the- counter medicine.