Root Canal: All You Need to Know
The name root canal might not be very appealing, but it’s an important part of your dental health that you shouldn’t ignore. Tooth decay or damage can often lead to root canal therapy, which helps eliminate bacteria and avoid pain and infection in the tooth.
To understand what to expect from this procedure, here’s our handy guide to what root canal therapy is and how it works to make an informed decision if you find yourself needing it in the future.
An Overview of Root Canals
Root canals are very common dental procedures. One in every ten patients has one by age 35. Root canals save your natural teeth and help you avoid dentures.
During this procedure, an endodontist cleans out your tooth’s pulp chamber and replaces it with synthetic materials so that it looks and functions like new.
Because these treatments replace damaged tissues and teeth, they’re often far less expensive than dentures or extraction.
Common Signs of Tooth Damage
Tooth decay can cause toothaches and other problems, but it doesn’t always lead to pain. Instead, you may experience one or more of these common signs of tooth damage. If you have any of these symptoms, contact our team for an exam. Your best chance at saving your tooth is early intervention.
Here are some common signs of tooth damage that could mean a root canal is in your future:
Sensitivity from cold, heat, or touch can mean inflammation is present in your teeth and gums—often a sign of decay.
Tooth sensitivity usually feels like mild pressure inside your mouth when something touches or presses against your sensitive areas.
Preparations Before Getting a Root Canal
Before the procedure, there are certain steps you can take to prepare your body and your tooth for treatment. These steps make it much easier for you and your dentist or endodontist.
Your dentist or endodontist will discuss these preparations before your appointment; until then, here’s what they are.
They are similar to prepping for any dental procedure, but preparation is an especially important part of your treatment since it is invasive.
Here are some things to keep in mind when thinking about getting a root canal:
- Eat soft foods for two days before your appointment. It helps ensure that you won’t experience pain from eating after receiving anesthesia during your treatment.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol) two hours before your appointment. It helps reduce swelling and inflammation, which may help reduce postoperative discomfort after your procedure is complete.
- Brush and floss one day thoroughly before a root canal get performed so that food particles don’t become lodged inside the area.
What Happens During My Root Canal Procedure?
During a root canal procedure, your dentist will begin by numbing your tooth with a local anesthetic and then removing any diseased tissue before filling them with sealant.
It can be completed in one visit or multiple appointments, depending on how much treatment is needed. After that, a filling will be placed over your exposed nerve endings and then sealed off with cement so they cannot become exposed again.
It may take anywhere from three months to a year for everything inside of your tooth to grow back after a root canal treatment session, but once it does, you should have no further complications—and you’ll feel better too.
How can you recover faster After Having a Root Canal?
Your dentist or endodontist will give you instructions on how to help speed up your recovery after a root canal, but you must stick with those instructions. It can mean keeping away from things like coffee and hard-to-chew foods.
Letting food sit in your mouth while recovering from a root canal could lead to swelling and discomfort. Additionally, it is best to refrain from brushing your teeth immediately after getting a root canal. Your gums might be sore and sensitive right after a procedure, so avoid flossing at first.
Will I Be Able To Smile Again After My Procedure?
Yes, you’ll be able to smile again after your root canal. Getting a root canal will repair and save your tooth, preventing it from breaking down further and possibly causing other issues, such as an infection in your jaw.
While a dentist might recommend that you wait before undergoing another procedure like whitening or porcelain veneers, there’s no reason why you can’t get back to smiling right away. Most people benefit from having their teeth whitened right after getting a root canal done because it makes them feel better.
Are you experiencing discomfort? Do you have questions about root canals? Are you worried about a tooth infection and don’t know where to turn? The dental team at Wytheville Dental Group is here for you. We are excited that you want more information on root canals, and we are happy to help. Feel free to contact us .