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Uncover the Truth About Root Canal Treatment

Do you fear having a root canal? There are many misconceptions about this very common procedure. The main misconception is that the procedure hurts. You’ll be numb and will not feel any pain. Besides, you’re probably in a great deal of pain or you wouldn’t need the procedure. Your pain will stop and you’ll only experience some minor discomfort for a day or two after your root canal. Also, root canals are an ideal option when you consider an extraction might be your only other option.

What Are the Reasons Dentists Recommend Root Canals?

Dentists recommend root canals for patients that have advanced decay that has reached the pulp, the innermost layer of a tooth. Since the pulp contains the nerves, this is usually very painful and a root canal will relieve the pain and keep the tooth from ever hurting again. Dentists also suggest root canal therapy when an injury to the tooth is allowing bacteria to reach the pulp. Their goal is to remove the infection and keep it from spreading to other parts of your mouth.

The best way to prevent yourself from needing a root canal is to practice good dental hygiene and make sure to visit your dentist reeguarly. Without regular checkups, the dentist will not be able to tell you when you have a small cavity that requires a filling or identify other small issues before they require more invasive procedures.
How Do I Know If I Need a Root Canal?

If you have any of the following symptoms, it is likely that you would benefit from the treatment. Make an appointment with an affordable dentist, since only a dentist is qualified to determine if you need root canal therapy. Some of the symptoms listed below can indictate other problems, but no matter what, you need to meet with a dentist. Don’t live in pain for loinger than you have to.

  • A severe toothache that is bad enough to keep you up at night
  • Prolonged tooth sensitivity to hot and cold that persists long after the stimulus in gone
  • Swelling in the gum near the tooth and your cheek may also appear swollen
  • It hurts to push gently on the tooth
  • You have a bad taste in your mouth
  • You may have an unexplained fever
  • The tooth appears darker than the surrounding teeth

Please see a dentist right away if you have any of these symptoms.

What Are the Most Common FAQs About Root Canal Treatments?

Many people have questions when they hear they need a root canal. Here are the most common ones:

  1. Is a root canal right for me?
  2. Will I feel pain afterwards?
  3. What are the steps involved in a root canal?
  4. What’s going to happen during my root canal?
  5. How long will it take to get my final restoration?
  6. Will I be numb during the procedure?
  7. Is root canal therapy risky?
  8. Will I have a strong healthy tooth when I’m done?
  9. How much do root canals cost?
  10. If I have dental insurance, will it pay for a root canal?

What’s a Root Canal Like Step-by-Step?

You’ll start with an exam and x-rays. Your dentist will also ask about your symptoms and determine if you need a root canal. If so, the procedure will go like this:

Step 1 – Numbing the Area

You’ll receive a local anesthetic to numb the area, so you’ll be comfortable during the procedure. It may take longer than usual to numb the area if the pulp is inflamed. Your dentist won’t begin any work until you are completely numb, so you wont feel any pain. If you experience anxiety during dental visits, you can ask your dentist about nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas.

Step 2 – A Dental Dam

Your dentist will place a dental dam in your mouth to isolate the area where he or she will work. This keeps the tooth clean and dry.

Step 3 – Removing the Pulp

Your dentist will drill a hole in the top of your tooth so he or she can access the pulp chambers. Next, your dentist will use special files to remove the pulp. When done, he or she will shape the pulp chamber or chambers and then rinse them out with water or sodium hypochlorite to remove any leftover bacteria.

Step 4 – Filling the Pulp Chamber

Once the pulp chambers are dry, your dentist will fill them with gutta-percha, a rubberlike material. Then, they will compress the material against the canal walls to make sure there is no place where an infection can set in again. Your dentist will seal access hole with a temporary filling.

Step 5 – The Crown

Your root canal isn’t complete until you have a crown placed over the tooth. The tooth may crack without a crown to give it more strength. You’ll make another appointment for getting your custom-made restoration in a few weeks. Until then, try not to chew or bite into anything hard with the tooth.

A root canal procedure can take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes depending on how many pulp chambers the tooth has. Molars usually take the longest, as they can have up to four pulp chambers.

Is There Pain After a Root Canal?

Having a little pain or minor discomfort is normal after having a root canal. While the tooth does not have any nerves left, you may feel the aftereffects of having your dentist clean out the canals. Your dentist will recommend an OTC analgesic that should take care of it. You will be completely pain-free in just a few days.

If you have sharp pain for more than a week, or the pain is severe, contact your dentist right away. Fortunately, intense pain after a root canal is rare.

What Can I Do to Help with the Healing Process?

  • If your dentist prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed.
  • Don’t eat until the local anesthetic wears off.
  • Do not chew on the affected side until you get your crown.
  • Don’t smoke a few days before and after your root canal as it slows down healing.

Follow-Up Care

A crown after your root canal will strengthen and support your natural tooth. An affordable dentist can have a beautiful crown made for you that blends in with your natural teeth. No one will ever know you’ve had root canal therapy.

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