Nearly everyone gets a little bit nervous when they hear the words “root canal.” Root canals are an incredibly important procedure, but they have received something of a bad rap. This is, in many ways, unfair — root canals have become significantly less uncomfortable in the last few decades, and “conventional wisdom” has unfortunately not been made aware of this fact. It is also a sad fact that many patients associate the pain of a tooth that needs a root canal with the procedure itself. In reality, a root canal is performed using anesthesia, and so is relatively painless. Additionally, a root canal’s job is to relieve pain, and you should feel markedly less discomfort immediately after the procedure is complete. And on top of that, root canal recovery only takes a few days.
To key to being prepared for a root canal is knowing what to expect. By understanding the nature of the procedure, the conditions that require root canal therapy, and the details of root canal recovery, you can be ready for an efficient, effective, and pain-free root canal experience.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
Traumatic damage, decay, or severe infections can cause the inner pulp and nerves that supply essential nutrients to a tooth to die. In these cases, the health of the tooth will continue to suffer until steps are taken to correct these issues. Root canal therapy is a dental procedure often used to save a badly damaged or decayed tooth from needing to be extracted.
What Conditions May Require Root Canal Therapy?
The most common conditions that can result in the need for a root canal are:
- Broken or badly damaged teeth
- Severe tooth decay
- Serious tooth infection
- Other structural issues with the tooth
Understanding the Root Canal Procedure
While it can be daunting to undergo a root canal treatment, understanding the steps involved can alleviate some of your anxiety. As a general rule, your dentist will perform the following steps to complete your procedure:
Preliminary X-Rays and Examination
A complete examination will be done to assess the condition of the tooth, any surrounding damage to gums or bone, and the overall condition of your entire mouth.
The area to be worked on will be adequately numbed. An injection of local anesthesia will reduce or eliminate any discomfort you could experience.
Removal of Inner Pulp
Next, your dentist will drill a hole in the tooth and use specific tools to carefully remove the inner pulp, nerve tissue, and any debris from inside the tooth. The tooth will be carefully cleaned on the inside to wash away the remaining debris or infected materials.
Filling the Tooth
Since the pulp and inner material of the tooth have been removed, these materials must be replaced to maintain the strength of the tooth. While it may be done at a later appointment, your dentist will use a rubber compound to fill the tooth, patch the hole, and place a dental crown over the top to preserve the tooth’s strength.
Root Canal Recovery Time
You can expect the tooth to feel sensitive for at least a few days after a root canal procedure. This is especially likely if an infection was present prior to treatment. The discomfort you will experience at this stage should be very manageable using only over-the-counter medication. However, if complications arise, your dentist can prescribe something more potent. In almost all cases, patients who receive root canals return to their regular routines the day after the procedure.
Learn More About Root Canal Recovery at the Dental Center of Norcross
You only have one mouth to last you a lifetime. It’s only natural to want to take good care of it. In addition to regular dental maintenance, dealing with any issues that arise promptly will help you keep your teeth and gums in the best condition possible.
The Dental Center of Norcross has been serving the dental needs of our clients for many years. Our skilled team of professionals takes great pride in providing outstanding service in a comfortable and welcoming environment. If you’re in need of dental services, reach out to the Dental Center of Norcross online today or call us at 678.504.6422.