When you’re having trouble with your teeth or pain from any sort of existing dental problem, it can cause extreme discomfort, stress, and anxiety. Various types of therapies are available to help treat dental problems, depending on your symptoms and needs. One intensive type of treatment for very serious problems is a root canal.
What is a Root Canal?
Every tooth contains three components — the enamel protective shell, a middle layer of dentin, and an inner pulp. The pulp chamber continues down to canals that extend through the roots of teeth and into the surrounding bone. A root canal is a procedure used to remove the pulp tissue. This soft pulp consists of blood vessels, nerve tissue, and lymph tissue. If the pulp has become traumatized by excessive decay, infection, or a fracture, the tooth can die. You need to seek treatment immediately to avoid further damage. Though only performed as a last resort, root canal therapy saves millions of teeth each year and prevents painful infections from spreading and causing even more significant problems for patients.
When Do I Need a Root Canal?
You might not realize that you actually have a severe problem until you start to experience pain. Once a tooth becomes infected, your body will trigger an inflammatory response. That combination is what causes the extreme pain, letting you know that something is wrong. Other than pain, some additional signs that you might need a root canal are the darkening of a tooth, swelling in your gums, sensitivity to hot or cold food and drinks, or signs of infection such as an abscess. In such situations, you could require a root canal to save the affected tooth and its functionality. A dentist can take an X-ray and may perform a pulp vitality test to confirm the diagnosis.
How is a Root Canal Done?
A root canal procedure/treatment is normally performed by a general dentist or an endodontist — a specialist in dental pulp diseases. The procedure shouldn’t cause you any more pain than a routine filling. The dentist will numb the area, so you don’t feel anything and can relax during the treatment. A drill is typically used, along with other instruments, to remove the pulp, the area is thoroughly disinfected, and then the dentist will fill the inside of the tooth to prevent further pain and infections from occurring. A permanent filling or crown is oftentimes also needed. If you do need a crown, an impression is then taken to perfectly match your tooth. Should you have to wait for a crown, you’ll be fitted with a temporary one until you can get your permanent one secured into place.
What Happens After the Root Canal?
After your root canal treatment, you’ll remain numb for a short period of time. Once the anesthesia wears off, you may experience some throbbing for a day or two. Follow the instructions for taking an over-the-counter pain medication, and the discomfort should fade. Keep in mind though, that even under the best of circumstances, occasionally a complication can arise with any kind of procedure or surgery. If you notice signs of infection, or if the pain doesn’t lessen as expected, let your dentist know in a timely manner. Additional treatment or dental surgery might be required.
We take the time with our patients to explain their treatment options and inform them of additional preventative care, so if you’re having a problem with your teeth or just want to avoid problems in the future, please contact us today. We’ll help you achieve and maintain a beautiful smile, along with healthier gums and teeth. When you come into our office, we will do everything possible to ensure a pleasant visit while you’re here!