The dreaded root canal. You’re literally cringing just thinking about it, especially after hearing what your dad’s best friend’s oldest daughter had to say about hers. Listen, don’t buy into the myth that root canals are painful procedures. In fact, you might be surprised to know that they’re not nearly as painful as you think! Read on to find out more about the procedure and why it’s better to have a root canal to save your tooth than have it removed.
The Reasons for a Root Canal
If you’re lacking in your dental hygiene routine and not brushing or flossing regularly, it can lead to a root canal. If cavities are forming, and you neglect to visit your dentist to have them fixed, the decay will eat away at the enamel, eventually reaching your tooth’s interior.
To help you determine why your dentist may suggest a root canal, here are a few signs:
- Jaw pain
- A gray or black tooth
- Pimple-like bumps on the gums
- Lasting sensitivity to heat, cold, and air
- A toothache that won’t go away
The Painless Process
Now that you and your dentist have determined a root canal is necessary, you may ask, “Why can’t you just extract the tooth and save me the pain?” Here’s why: keeping your natural tooth in place can continue to anchor nearby teeth, preventing them from loosening or falling out. Your natural tooth can also help if you ever need a dental bridge.
During a root canal, rest assured that you will have local anesthesia to help you stay relaxed and comfortable throughout the procedure. Once your jaw is numbed, your dentist will create a small hole in the crown before removing decayed tissue from the inside of the tooth. Once the area is cleaned and reshaped, your tooth will be filled with a biocompatible material (gutta percha). Once the procedure is complete, your dentist can place an antibiotic on the tooth to speed up the healing process.
Either during or at a follow-up visit, you will receive a temporary or permanent filling or crown. Most procedures are completed in two office visits.
Your post-op pain will be minimal, as you will experience some tenderness. You can take over-the-counter pain medication to treat any pain or discomfort you may be experiencing, but it’s important to contact your dentist if the pain persists for more than a few days. Other ways to care for your tooth after a root canal include:
- Wait for the numbness to go away. Before eating, you will need to wait until you are no longer number from the anesthesia. You could accidentally bite your cheek or damage to your mouth.
- Watch for swelling. Call your dentist immediately if you can see swelling occur. Also, if you experience itching, you could be having an allergic reaction to the anesthesia.
- Brush your teeth. While it may feel a little bit uncomfortable for a few days, you should brush and floss normally.
- Go back for a follow–up. If you receive a temporary filling or crown on the same day as your procedure, make sure you return to your dentist office to receive a permanent fixture.
Root canals don’t have to be so scary. In fact, the only pain will be from the persistent toothache that will continue if you don’t talk to your doctor about whether a root canal is necessary. Get the relief you need. Talk to your dentist about your options today, and keep the smile you want for years to come!
About the Practice
At Peaks View Dental, we design a dental plan that best meets your expectations and needs. Our comprehensive dental services will provide you with solutions and treatments that ensure you leave with a stellar smile! Our team wants you to be comfortable and at ease. Using the latest technologies, you can expect effective, efficient, and affordable dental care. For questions about our services, visit our website or call (540) 586-8106.