What Is A Root Canal?
A root canal is a way to treat infected, painful tooth pulps. Also known as root canal therapy, we disinfect a tooth from the inside and fill it with a rubber stopper called gutta percha. The pulp of a tooth has nerves and blood vessels, when this part of the tooth gets infected, usually from a cavity, it swells up which is the body’s natural response. The inflammation and swelling is usually painful and when a root canal is suggested, it will help you feel better quickly while allowing you to save the tooth.
Root canal’s get a bad wrap for their association with tooth pain. The actual procedure, with proper anesthesia, will alleviate any discomfort and pain you may be experiencing by stopping the spread of infection.
Rivers Bend Family Dental provides a wide range of dental procedures to make it convenient for your family to tend to all its dental needs. Our services include but are not limited
Common Symptoms Before A Root Canal
There are some common symptoms a root canal may be necessary. If you are experiencing any of the following, it’s a good idea to schedule to see your dentist early on:
- Severe sensitivity to hot and/or cold food or drinks
- Pain while pressing the tooth with a finger
- Pain while chewing
- Swollen gums or cheeks
- Chronic tooth pain
- Throbbing and being woken up at night
- Sudden change in tooth color (yellow or gray)
We are always committed to providing the best care and support for our patients at Rivers Bend. If you are scheduled and have any questions, always feel free to contact us to see if root canal therapy is right for you. We are here to provide personalized care tailored to your unique needs.
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If you do need a root canal, plan on it generally taking one or two dental appointments. The first appointment, the tooth is assessed by your dentist or hygienist to determine the issue. If the pulp is determined to be involved and infected, then it will need to be decided whether or not the tooth can be saved.
If it can be saved, you will be given the option for a root canal. Once you’ve mentally prepared and ready to tackle the procedure, we help you get numb. Good anesthesia is the difference between a good and a bad experience with a root canal. Do note, that if the tooth is severely infected, it will be harder to feel full anesthesia because of the neutralizing effect infection has on anesthesia.
As soon as your numb, your dentist enters the infected pulp, cleaning it out with special files and disinfectant. All the roots of the tooth are located and cleaned to the very tips. This can be a tedious task, or an easy task, depending on the number of canals and if there are any curves that must be navigated. After the inside has been cleaned and filled with a rubber stopper, the tooth will either be filled or a crown is necessary to protect and seal the root canal from fracture or breakage.
Do I Need A Root Canal?
There are always risks with any procedure. Most times, the benefits of a root canal outweigh those risks. A root canal will help with managing an abscess, swelling, infection, tooth discoloration and pain. Another benefit is that you’ll be able to save the tooth. Just don’t wait too long to get any of your premolar or molar teeth capped after the root canal. This helps protect and preserve the fragile tooth afterwards.
What you may experience during the root canal is some mild discomfort if the infection has been prolonged. Anesthetics will have a tougher time working with a severely abscessed tooth. Dr. Johnson may consider to just place you on antibiotics to relieve the infection before proceeding with root canal therapy.
How Uncomfortable Is A Root Canal?
For most people, when they hear the term ‘Root Canal’ your first thought is dread about the procedure. A lot of times avoiding the procedure allows an infected tooth to take greater hold of your body and exert more pain, swelling and suffering on the patient. If you can take care of a tooth before it gets to this point, our anesthesia with nitrous gas has a much better chance getting you comfortable throughout the procedure. Most patients after the procedure have told us that ‘it wasn’t so bad’ or ‘that wasn’t anything I imagined it to be.’ So we hope to surprise you in a pleasant way and help you through the procedure as best as possible.
Best Practices For Post Appointment Care
After the procedure, it is important to know you may still feel pressure, swelling and even pain. If you are experiencing any of these post procedure symptoms, please contact our staff as you may still have infection that requires further care. But beyond that, we do recommend avoiding chewing on the root canal treated tooth until it is crowned or capped (some front teeth may not need a crown). Remember it’s always a good idea to keep up with the 6 month maintenance cleanings and exams.