Why Root Canals?
Getting root canal treatment rather than an extraction has many advantages. It can reduce and eliminate pain to eat and drink properly. It also reduces the risks of further tooth damage, leading to more complex and expensive treatments, like dental implants, to replace missing teeth.
After a root canal process, if you maintain proper oral hygiene, your root canal can last for many years.
Other advantages of getting a root canal:
- Improves chewing
- Protects other teeth from being removed and maintains the integrity of your teeth
What to Expect
A root canal treatment is done to save a tooth that is infected and causing pain and would otherwise need to be extracted. An extraction is more costly and may cause complications with adjacent teeth.
A root canal may be needed when you face problems, including decay that has reached the living tissue inside the tooth (tooth pulp), infection, dental abscess inside the tooth or the root tip, or injury to the tooth.
Symptoms that can indicate you may need a root canal procedure include:
- A dental abscess (or pimple) on the gums
- Sensitivity to hot and cold
- Severe toothache pain
- Swelling or tenderness
Before your root canal, let your dentist know about any symptoms you are experiencing.
A root canal procedure typically requires one to three appointments and is performed by a dentist or an endodontist (a root canal specialist).
- Before the dentist begins the procedure, an x-ray of the tooth will be taken.
- The dentist will numb the tooth with a local anesthetic. Once your tooth is numb, the dentist will use a series of root canal files to access the infected area.
- The dentist will remove the dental pulp, nerve tissue, and any bacteria from the infected tooth. If there is tooth decay present, this is also removed. Once the tooth is cleaned thoroughly, the tooth is sealed with a permanent root canal filling.
- At the next appointment, the roots and inside the cavity of the tooth are filled and sealed. A root canal filling is placed to cover the opening of the tooth.
After a root canal, the tooth should have a dental crown (cap) set to help protect the tooth and prevent it from cracking or breaking.
After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will typically subside as the inflammation reduces and the tooth heals. Your dentist will provide you with care instructions after each dental checkup. Remember that good oral hygiene and regular dental visits will help maintain your teeth.
Your First Visit
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Frequently Asked Questions
You may experience severe pain, sensitivity to hot and cold, or swelling. However, sometimes no symptoms will be present. It's important to contact your dentist if you suspect your tooth has decayed significantly.