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Posted on: March 24, 2022
Uncover the Truth About Root Canal Treatment
Root canals are probably the most dreaded of dental procedures, but they’re also one of the most necessary ones. A root canal can save a tooth that might otherwise need to be extracted and replaced with an implant. So why do root canals have such a bad reputation? Most of it is based on their origins – root canals were first performed in 1766 – and the use of antiquated techniques that have long since been replaced with modern techniques and advances in dentistry. Modern root canals are almost painless, and they heal quickly when you follow your dentist’s instructions. If you have a root canal in your future, the following information may help alleviate your angst.
What Are the Primary Reasons Patients Need a Root Canal?
Root canals are usually recommended when the pulp or root of the tooth is damaged or decayed beyond repair. A root canal can save a tooth that might otherwise need to be extracted and replaced with an implant. Most assuredly, any minor pain from a root canal is less than that caused by an infected tooth.
What Are the Top Ten Questions to Ask About Root Canals?
If you’re scheduled to have a root canal but keep forgetting to ask questions of your dentist, then the following information may help you:
- What makes me a good candidate for a root canal?
- How much pain will I have during and after the procedure?
- Is there a better method than a root canal to treat this problem?
- What’s involved in the root canal procedure?
- How long does a root canal procedure take?
- What types of anesthesia are best, and which do you recommend?
- What type of risks are there?
- How much will a root canal cost?
- Will insurance cover any part of the cost?
- Will my tooth be weaker or stronger after the procedure?
We recommend contacting your insurance provider before your appointment. They’ll be the best source of information on your coverage, its limitations and exclusions, and any other benefits you may have. If you need financial assistance, let us know, and we’ll explain our financing options.
How Am I Going to Know If I Need a Root Canal?
If you need a root canal, you’ve probably received warning signs but may not have known what they were. If you notice any of the following signs, you should make an appointment with your dentist without delay:
- Discolored or darkened areas on a specific tooth
- Gums that are inflamed, painful, red, or swollen
- Intense and persistent tooth pain
- Small bump on the gums near a painful tooth
- Sensitivity to temperature
- Painful and sore gums and teeth
- Severe tooth decay
If you notice any of the above signs, then make a dental appointment without delay, and you may be able to save your tooth.
What Is the Process Like for Getting a Root Canal?
Your root canal procedure begins when you notice that you have an interior problem with one of your teeth.
- Detection: If you’ve noticed any of the above problems with a tooth and made an appointment with your dentist, then you’ve started your road to a root canal procedure.
- The Procedure: Your dentist will examine your teeth and gums and determine if you need a root canal or another procedure. If you need a root canal, then they’ll need access to the interior of your tooth.
- The Root: To gain access to the interior of your tooth, they’ll numb the area around the tooth. Then, they’ll drill a small hole in the top of your tooth so they can remove the decayed tissue. Next, the canals will be cleaned and disinfected so that you don’t develop an infection later on.
- The Canals: After the canals have been rinsed, they’ll be filled with gutta-percha or a similar substance, which will provide structural integrity to the tooth.
- Restoration: Next, a temporary filling will be installed. The filling will protect the tooth’s interior until your permanent crown arrives.
- The Crown: When your permanent crown arrives, you’ll return to our office, and we’ll install your crown. It will be permanently affixed with a strong, permanent adhesive, and your root canal will be complete!
If you experience any issues at any part of the procedure, be sure to notify your dentist immediately.
Are Guidelines or Rules for Taking Care of a Toot After A Root Canal?
There are always dos and don’ts after any procedure, and root canals are no different. Your dentist will provide you with aftercare instructions, and your healing will be quicker if you follow the instructions faithfully.
You’ll probably experience some tingling or minor soreness for a few days after your procedure. This is normal and indicates that your body is healing. You shouldn’t experience excessive pain, swelling, pressure, or bleeding, however. If you do, call your dentist immediately because you may have developed a problem. Usually, symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter pain medication.
Aftercare Instructions for Root Canal Care at Home
You’ll be provided with aftercare instructions, and your healing will be faster if you follow them to the letter. You’ll also be less likely to develop any problems. Your aftercare instructions include:
- Avoid chewing anything until your mouth is no longer numb. If you do, you risk biting your cheek or tongue, but you won’t be aware of it because the nerves are still numb.
- Avoid chewing or biting near the treated tooth until it completely heals and you have your permanent crown. If you’re unsure, ask your dentist when you can resume biting and chewing on that side of your mouth.
- Be sure to follow your dentist’s guidelines exactly, especially regarding your medication.
- Continue your good oral hygiene regimen for your other teeth, but avoid the treated tooth until it has completely healed and your permanent crown is installed.
- Call your dentist without delay if you experience any adverse reactions, even if you think the reaction is minor. Adverse reactions can include allergic reactions, excessive pressure or pain, swelling, nausea, or any other symptoms.
Be Sure to Frequently Visit the Dentist!
Your root canal is the first step in restoring functionality to your tooth and regaining good dental health. The last step is ensuring that the permanent crown is installed, so make the installation appointment right after your root canal procedure is complete.