At your latest trip to the dentist, your worst fears have been realized – you need a root canal. Friends may have told you horror stories about their Uncles Bosses Wife, and what a terrible time she had during her root canal. The truth is, having a root canal is a fairly painless and simple procedure that will keep you from having more serious oral health issues. The following information about root canal will help yourself realize that it’s nothing to be scared of, while not having it done can lead to serious problems.
Why You Need a Root Canal
Your teeth have three layers: the enamel on the outside, the dentin, and soft tissue called the pulp. Root canals are required as a result of tooth decay that has made it through the enamel and hard dentin and into the pulp. They can also happen if you severely chip or crack a tooth. The pulp becomes either infected or inflamed, causing you pain and discomfort.
When your pulp is affected, you’ll notice several other symptoms. These can include:
- Hot or cold sensitivity
- Discoloration of the tooth
- Problems chewing
- Tenderness or swelling in the gums or nearby lymph nodes
What Happens If You Decide to Skip It
Maybe you’re just too freaked out to schedule the procedure and decide to skip your root canal. The consequences can’t be that bad, right?
Without proper treatment, the decay in your tooth will continue to progress. The pain will intensify, and eventually, your tooth will become abscessed. This means the infection has spread to the jawbone, which will cause even more intense pain. Even worse, the infection can continue in your sinus cavity, other teeth, or down your throat. Eventually, the infection will keep spreading to the rest of your bones and body and could ultimately lead to death.
This might sound melodramatic, but it is a very real possibility. This is why it’s better to simply face your fears and have the root canal done before other damage can occur.
What Happens During a Root Canal
Your dentist will instruct you on how to prepare for a root canal, though there isn’t much to do. They may recommend taking some over-the-counter pain medication to prevent swelling and pain, as well as eat a normal meal and drink water so that you are well nourished and hydrated.
During the root canal procedure, the dentist will apply a local anesthetic to completely numb your mouth. Once you are completely comfortable and can’t feel anything, they’ll place a dental dam over the area to protect other teeth in the mouth as well as to keep the decayed tooth free of saliva.
The dentist then drills a small hole in the tooth until they get to the pulp. Once inside your tooth, they clean the pulp chamber and remove all of the infected material to create an empty cavity. With all of this inner pulp gone, they then use a biocompatible material to fill the hole, providing strength and structure to the tooth. Finally, the hole is sealed with a cement adhesive to keep everything in place. Your tooth will technically be dead, but it will still be functional thanks to the filler inside.
You might be wondering, how can I find a root canal dentist near me? Look at reputable reviews online to find the highest rated practitioners. Don’t go to a dentist just because they offer low prices; instead, find an office that has proven results.
What Happens After a Root Canal
Root canal aftercare is simple. You might experience some post-procedure pain, but it won’t be anything too severe. In fact, many people don’t experience pain at all. Pain peaks 24 hours afterward and should be gone completely in a couple of days.
During the procedure, your dentist placed a temporary filling. You will need to have a follow-up appointment so they can place the permanent filling. Depending on the location of the tooth, you might also get a crown, as it provides more stability for chewing and biting. Once this filling is done, your mouth will be back to normal like nothing ever happened.
Triangle Dentistry located in Raleigh, NC provides a state-of-the-art facility that offers exceptional general dental and specialty services guided by empathy of patient’s needs and desires. Services range from dental crowns and implants to veneers and whitening procedures. For further information, questions or to schedule an appointment, contact the office at (919) 747-3592.