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Uncover the Truth About Root Canal Treatment

Although evidence of dental treatments has been discovered as far back as 9000 BC, it wasn’t until the 1700s that root canals came into existence. Given the lack of anesthesia, pain medication, and dental tools that existed at the time, it’s no wonder that root canals developed their current stigma. However, modern dental technology has made the pain and subsequent discomfort of root canals a thing of the past.

Today’s root canals are relatively painless operations that are performed relatively quickly. Root canals are necessary at times, and if you need one, you should attend to it without delay. If you need a root canal, the following information may help alleviate your angst over the procedure.

What Damages a Tooth Enough to Require a Root Canal?

Root canals are usually performed when the inside of the tooth becomes damaged, decayed, or infected and is beyond repair. Often, a round of antibiotics won’t be sufficient to heal the infection if that’s the cause. If there’s damage, your dentist may not be able to repair it since it’s inside the tooth or it may become so severe that a cavity won’t fix the problem. Thus, the need for a root canal. To be sure, the time spent in the dentist’s chair will be considerably less painful than the pain from the damage or infection. Often, a root canal is the only method for saving a tooth.

Is There a List of the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Root Canals?

If you need a root canal, you probably have many questions. However, by the time you’re in the dentist’s office, you may forget what they were. The following questions can help jog your memory, so take them with you.

  1. What makes me a good candidate for a root canal?
  2. How much pain will I have after the procedure?
  3. Is there a better solution than a root canal for treating this problem?
  4. What does a root canal entail?
  5. What’s the duration of the entire process from start to finish?
  6. What are my choices for anesthesia?
  7. What are the risks?
  8. How much does a root canal cost?
  9. Will my insurance cover all or part of the cost?
  10. Will my tooth be stronger or weaker after a root canal?

We recommend that you speak to your insurance provider before your appointment, so you know the extent of your coverage, its limitations, and any exclusions. If you need financial help, ask about our financing options that enable you to afford the dental treatment that you need.

Are There Common Signs or Symptoms That Indicate a Root Canal Is Needed?

If you need a root canal, you’ll probably notice one or more of the following:

  • Dark areas in your gums and teeth
  • Gums that are red, inflamed, or swollen
  • Severe or persistent tooth pain
  • Small lump on the gums near a painful tooth
  • Persistent sensitivity to temperature
  • Painful teeth and gums
  • Evidence of severe infection or decay

If you notice one or more of these signs, then make an appointment with your dentist without delay. A root canal may save the tooth, but it needs to be done quickly.

What’s the Root Canal Procedure?

The following information is a general guideline for what to expect from a root canal. Your experience may differ slightly due to your unique needs, but generally, you can expect the following:

  1. Detecting the need for a root canal begins when you notice that you have a problem with a tooth and make a dental appointment.
  2. During your dental appointment, your dentist will examine your teeth and gums and determine whether you do, in fact, need a root canal. If you do, then they’ll numb the area and drill a small hole in the tooth so they can access its interior.
  3. When your dentist gains access to the interior of your tooth, they’ll remove the defective tissue, called the pulp, then they’ll clean and disinfect the canals.
  4. Once the canals have been disinfected and rinsed, your dentist will pack them with a permanent substance called gutta-percha that will help protect the tooth.
  5. After packing the canals, your dentist will seal them with a temporary filling and will order your permanent crown.
  6. When your permanent crown arrives, you’ll return to the dentist’s office for placement. The crown will be permanently installed using a very powerful cement, and this will complete your root canal procedure!

We recommend that you schedule your appointment for crown placement right after your root canal appointment since the crown is the final step in the procedure, and your tooth won’t be completely protected until the crown is in place.

What Are the Rules for Properly Taking Care of a Tooth After a Root Canal?

As with any dental procedure, there are aftercare instructions for a root canal. Following your dentist’s instructions faithfully will expedite your healing.

It’s normal to experience a few days of tenderness and tingling in the area of the root canal. This is your body’s signal that it’s healing. You shouldn’t experience severe pain or pressure, however. If you do, contact the office immediately. In a few weeks, your root canal tooth will feel the same as your other teeth, and you may forget that you had a root canal.

Aftercare Instructions for Caring for Your Newly Repaired Tooth

Your dentist will provide you with aftercare instructions that will enable the fastest and best healing for your root canal, so follow them carefully, even when you’re tempted not to:

  • Avoid eating any substance that requires chewing until your numbness dissipates. You can very easily bite your tongue or the inside of your cheek but be unaware of it because the nerves have been deadened.
  • Don’t bite or chew in the area of the treated tooth until it’s completely healed because that can necessitate a return to our office for repairs to the site.
  • Adhere to the instructions for your medication instructions.
    Brush and floss the rest of your teeth the same as you normally would, but avoid the treated tooth until it has healed completely.

If you experience any adverse reactions or symptoms, call your dentist’s office without delay. Adverse reactions include but aren’t limited to an allergic reaction, excessive pain or bleeding, nausea, swelling, or other symptoms.

Even if you think your adverse reaction is minor, let your dentist’s office know about it.

Don’t Forget to Continue to Visit the Dentist!

Although the root canal will restore functionality to the tooth, you need the permanent crown to complete the process and provide total health and protection to the tooth. Therefore, be sure to schedule the crown installation appointment as soon as your root canal has been completed.

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