When it comes to your smile and overall dental health, taking the right steps to ensure they remain at their best is essential. Yet, even if you do everything right, the potential need for a root canal can still exist. While just hearing these words can conjure up negative reactions, the truth is that root canal procedures are usually quick and mostly painless today, largely thanks to technology and your dentist’s ability to create a more comfortable experience.
What Exactly is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a procedure where infected tissue, known as the pulp, is removed from the inside of a tooth. This, in turn, prevents the infection from spreading to other areas of the body, starting with the jaw bone. It also alleviates the throbbing pain that accompanies the infection for many patients.
The root canal saves the natural tooth structure. While officially, the tooth itself is dead, it can still remain and allow you to chew and speak properly.
Many patients wonder why pulling the tooth is not a better option. For one, it will leave a crater behind in the jaw, requiring the placement of an artificial tooth or implant. Without this, you risk a change in the alignment of your teeth as the surrounding ones begin to move, resulting in crooked teeth that can affect your appearance and alter your bite.
3 Important Things You Need to Know Before Getting a Root Canal
Learning you need a root canal can lead to anxiety, and you may find yourself delaying the inevitable. Yet, with the right dentist and team, you can remain comfortable throughout and find that the procedure is not as bad as you imagined.
If you do find yourself in need of a root canal, it helps to know the following three things ahead of time to help you better prepare yourself both mentally and emotionally.
1. Root Canals are Less Painful Than People Think
Tooth infections are often painful, creating throbbing pain on a continual basis or whenever eating or drinking. Relief of that pain is essential and is accomplished by undergoing a root canal.
So, before your procedure, remind yourself that the root canal is a pain-relieving treatment, not a pain-causing one.
As for pain during the procedure, you can expect it to be minimal.
To start, your dentist will administer a local anesthesia to numb the area and lower discomfort levels. You are unlikely to feel any pain except for a slight pinch as the anesthesia is given.
2. The Procedure Involves Steps
Knowledge about what happens during a root canal can also help to relieve anxiety. The procedure itself involves steps that have been perfected by your dentist and designed to complete the process as swiftly and efficiently as possible.
Removal of the infected tooth pulp occurs first. Once the infected tooth and surrounding area are numb, your dentist will create a small hole in the tooth’s surface. Through this hole, the infected or dead pulp is removed.
Once removed, the cleaning and shaping of the hollowed-out area comes next. Your dentist will then carefully insert a filling and seal the canals.
Finally, your dentist will either insert an outer filling into the access hole in the surface of the tooth or prepare you for a crown. The tooth itself is weakened and will eventually become brittle, so replacing it with a crown now may be your best option.
Fortunately, all of these steps require only one visit, and the procedure should be over in approximately 30 to 60 minutes.
3. Recovery is Short-Term
Following your root canal, recovery time will be short. You may experience soreness and some sensitivity for a few days following the procedure but can expect this to fade away on its own. However, your dentist may recommend you take over-the-counter medications or prescribe medications to help with any minor discomfort you experience.
You will be able to eat but will need to chew slowly and gently with the opposite side of the mouth. You will also want to avoid biting down or chewing on hard substances, such as ice or nuts. By doing so, you can facilitate faster healing so you can get back to normal sooner.
Unfortunately, root canals are sometimes a necessary part of maintaining your oral health. The more you know about what to expect before, during, and after your root canal procedure can be beneficial in helping you prepare. It can also prompt questions or concerns that your dentist will be glad to discuss beforehand, so you are completely comfortable going forward.
Contact the Team at Linworth Family Dental for all Your Dental Needs
Whether you are currently experiencing tooth discomfort or pain, or in need of preventive dental care, Linworth Family Dental is here to help. Schedule a consultation or contact us with any questions or concerns you may have. We prioritize patient comfort and strive for your experience with us to be the best it can be. Call today.