April 2021 Dental Newsletter
Caring for Your Dental Roots With a Root Canal
Underneath the hard surface of your tooth is the soft tissue called the pulp. If you get a cavity that remains untreated or suffer trauma to the tooth like a large crack, bacteria will be able to enter and reach the pulp. If this happens, the pulp might get inflamed or the infection will spread causing tooth pain and sensitivity to hot or cold foods. To ease the pain, your dentist will remove the infected pulp tissue with a root canal procedure.
When is a Root Canal Necessary
When the tooth is compromised, you might experience pain, swelling, sensitivity, inflammation, a periodontal abscess (pimple on the gums), and tooth discoloration. These are all signs that you need a root canal. If you leave the tooth untreated, the symptoms will get worse over time and the infection is likely to spread to your jaw or affect surrounding teeth. An untreated infection could become fatal. Some patients are nervous because they fear that the procedure will be painful so they avoid the dentist if they suspect a root canal is needed. Don’t delay treatment because the symptoms are much worse than the procedure itself. You also want to avoid losing the tooth altogether. After the root canal, you will feel pain relief, avoid tooth damage, and have a healthy smile.
How is a Root Canal Performed
The root canal procedure requires two to three visits to be completed. During the root canal procedure, your experienced dentist starts by taking an X-ray to see the extent of the damage. Then they will numb the area with a local anesthetic so you will be awake throughout, and will be able to drive home safely afterward. The dentist will remove any inflamed or infected pulp tissue with special tools. The cleaned area needs to be disinfected then sealed to prevent bacteria from getting inside. If you have a severe infection you might need a temporary filling while you take medication to clear it up. The tooth is then filled with a permanent filling and a custom-made crown is placed on top to protect it. The crown is made of porcelain and will look just like your natural tooth. The crown will be colored to match the rest of your smile perfectly and blend right in. It is needed to give your tooth additional strength after the root canal and can last for ten to fifteen years before a replacement crown is needed.
After the root canal, you will no longer experience symptoms and will be more comfortable. You might feel sore for a few days after the procedure but you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever to manage it. To maintain your new tooth for years to come, brush twice a day like you normally would with a soft bristle toothbrush, and remember to floss at least once a day. Smoking, eating hard foods like candy, and other behaviors that damage the teeth are not recommended. In a few days, you will be able to go back to your regular eating habits without pain or sensitivity.