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Posted on: March 15, 2022
A Root Canal Could Save Your Tooth and Is Relatively Painless
Dentists say that many adults can keep their permanent teeth if they opt for root canals. Because of a lot of misinformation, though, most people avoid getting root canals. One of the most common misbeliefs is that the procedure is painful. In reality, you don’t feel anything during treatment, and recovery isn’t bad either.
Let’s take a closer look at root canals. Hopefully, you’ll see that they aren’t something to fear.
Dental Root Canals Explained
First, let’s cover just what a root canal is. Basically, it’s a procedure in which your dentist opens up your tooth to remove infected pulp. Typically, the pulp of your tooth can get infected if a cavity is left untreated or if a crack in the tooth exposes the pulp.
During a root canal, a hole is drilled into the top of your tooth so that the dentist can remove the infected pulp. While removing the pulp, the dentist takes this time to clean the inside of your tooth as well. Then, it’s restored with a dental safe filling.
Should You Get a Root Canal?
Root canals are very common and often a good option for individuals who have damaged or infected tooth pulp. Since root canals are so common, the risk of having one is very minimal.
Also, the alternative to not having a root canal is usually to remove that tooth. Unless it’s not financially viable, most dentists recommend getting a root canal over pulling a tooth.
Millions of people suffer from tooth pain but never get it checked out. Tooth pain is often a symptom that you need a root canal. If you wait too long, you might have no choice but to have your tooth pulled. At the first sign of tooth pain, you should make an appointment to see your dentist.
Are you still unsure if you should get a root canal? The more that you know about the procedure, the easier that the choice is to make. Thankfully, there are a few questions that you can ask your dentist to ease your mind. If you find out you need a root canal, during an oral exam, ask your dentist some of these questions:
- How much is a root canal going to cost me out of pocket?
- Will my dental insurance help cover some or all of the cost?
- Is there any risk to having a root canal done?
- Does getting a root canal take a long time?
- What is the recovery process like?
- Can you give me a step-by-step explanation of what happens during a root canal?
Warning Signs That You Should Get a Root Canal
Most of the time, your dentist will find dental problems before the need arises for a root canal. However, some problems can develop before you visit your dentist for a checkup. In such situations, it’s important to know warning signs that might indicate that you need dental treatment right away.
The first, and most common, warning sign is severe tooth pain. As you know, pain is a sign that something is wrong. There are two types of pain that you could experience when you need a root canal. One is a sharp, extreme pain. The other is a dull pain that doesn’t go away. In either case, you need to contact your dentist to get help.
Another warning sign happens when you eat something warm or cold. If cold or warm drinks cause a painful sensation in one of your teeth, you need to see your dentist. Some sensitivity to cold and warmth is normal. However, it shouldn’t cause extreme pain.
Understanding the Root Canal Procedure
All you need to do during a root canal is make an appointment. The rest of the procedure is handled by your dentist. The best part is that the procedure will be over before you know it, and it’s virtually pain free.
When the dentist starts the root canal, the first step is numbing the area around the affected tooth, including the nerves. The anesthetic injection may cause some discomfort, but it goes away in a few seconds.
Then, the dentist will make a hole in the top of your tooth to remove the infected pulp. Within the same hole, the dentist will clean the inside of the tooth to make sure that the infection doesn’t happen again. Don’t worry, your mouth is numb during all of this, so you won’t feel a thing.
After the tooth has been cleaned, it’s time to restore it. In order to do this, your dentist fills the hole with a dental safe solution. A temporary crown is placed on top to seal the tooth until you can get a permanent crown. Usually, your dentist will have you schedule the appointment to get a permanent crown before you leave.
Caring for Your Tooth After a Root Canal
The good news is that caring for your tooth after a root canal doesn’t really take much effort. For the first few days, avoid eating directly on that tooth so that it doesn’t get irritated.
You might feel some tenderness and tingling in your tooth too. This is just your tooth healing. If you feel any discomfort, you should be able to manage it with over-the-counter medication.
It’s important to continue to brush and floss your teeth after a root canal. This includes brushing and flossing the tooth that was treated. Just be more gentle than you would normally be to avoid irritating your tooth while it heals.
Scheduling Your Follow-up Appointment
Once your root canal is done, your dentist will have you schedule a follow-up appointment. Typically, the follow-up will happen after your root canal has had time to heal. The goal of the appointment is to make sure that the procedure went well and to place your permanent crown.
Get your dental problems taken care of today. Schedule an appointment for a dental exam to see if a root canal is right for you.