Everything You Need to Know About Root Canals

Root canals inspire terror.

People who are anxious about dental procedures are often particularly worried about root canals. But should they be? The procedure is performed in order to save an infected tooth without having to pull it out. Modern medicine can mitigate the pain.

If your dentist recommends a root canal, you should listen. Don’t let fear stop you from protecting your teeth.

What is Root Canal Therapy?

Root Canals

A “root canal” is the hollow section of the tooth housing the pulp. Root canal therapy describes the treatment protocol when the pulp becomes infected. It’s an endodontic procedure that removes the pulp before cleaning and sealing the tooth against further infection.

The pulp is full of nerves and blood cells that help keep the tooth alive while it’s growing. A mature tooth can survive without the pulp by feeding on nearby tissues. If the infection is ignored, it can cause severe problems, including cardiovascular issues.

Signs You Might Need a Root Canal:

  • Severe toothache
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Temperature sensitivity
  • Swollen gums

How is the Procedure Performed?

Root Canals

A root canal is a very common procedure that most dentists will be quite experienced with. It may not be a patient’s favorite way to spend the afternoon, but it’s a great way to save a tooth that otherwise would have to be ripped out. Patients save time, money, and pain when they elect to have a root canal procedure performed.

When it’s time to get to work, here’s what the dentist will do.

1.      Clean the area

There’s no point in performing the procedure if you’re still going to have irritants inside the root canal. Before doing anything else, your dentists will make sure that the area is thoroughly cleaned. Patients who elect to have local anesthesia will already be numbed.

2.      Drill a Hole

Next, the infected tooth will be surrounded by a rubber barrier intended to keep saliva out of the area. Your dentist will then drill an access hole into the tooth so the pulp and debris can be sucked out.

3.      Seal the root canal

After the pulp is removed, your dentist will clean the area again using water and specialized files. When the tooth is ready, it’ll be filled with a sealing material. The tooth is officially dead but its appearance shouldn’t suffer.

You’ll no longer have to worry about the tooth causing you any pain.

4.      Add a crown

The final step is to add a crown or filling to help strengthen the tooth. The entire process can be performed in a day or the patient may need to return for multiple visits.

5.      Further repairs

A simple root canal might not be enough to give you the look that you desire. Cosmetic dentistry can help. By adding a veneer to the newly saved tooth you can completely change its appearance.

Does it Hurt?

Root Canals

People tremble when they find out they have to have root canal therapy in part because they’re terrified of the pain. However, there’s a good chance that their fears are exaggerated. The treatment process itself is often less painful than patients imagine, especially if they receive localized anesthesia.

Once the anesthesia wears off, a patient might experience some swelling or tenderness but it can be relieved by over-the-counter pain medications.

What Should You Expect After Your Procedure?

Root Canals

Your pain should disappear soon after your root canal procedure because the cause is gone. The infection has been removed. The tooth itself is now dead and not as strong as it once was but after your crown or filling is in place you’ll be able to chew and speak normally.

You might feel pain or discomfort for a few days after your procedure. This will fade. Your day-to-day life shouldn’t be affected.

You should immediately continue with your normal brushing and flossing schedule.

Are There Any Alternatives?

Root Canals

In almost every situation, the best strategy is to save the natural tooth. Dentists recommend root canal therapy when the treatment can eradicate an infection and keep the infected tooth from having to be pulled.

There are no alternatives other than extracting the tooth. The patient then would be left with a gap in their teeth or they would have to purchase an implant or dentures. This is an effective solution but it’s far more expensive and time-consuming.

Proper dental hygiene can help protect your teeth from decay but sometimes life happens. There are a lot of reasons why someone might end up needing a root canal. If your dentist says that you do, don’t panic. The procedure is extremely safe and effective.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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