Root Canals: The Unfiltered Truth
A lot of us hear the words “root canal” and suddenly fall into a panic. Back in the day, root canals were known for their unpleasantry. So it’s only natural for you to be nervous about your upcoming root canal procedure, but the teeth experts at Downingtown Family Dentistry are here to tell you that our root canal treatment is painless and easy.
What is a Root Canal?
A Root Canal is a dental procedure used to remove an infection directly at the nerve, save the tooth, and prevent it from infection. When a tooth becomes infected, it is often related to the nerves in the root of the tooth. The nerves need to be removed and if left untreated, an infection can turn into an abscess which can have much more serious consequences including bone loss in the jaw. This procedure saves your natural tooth, relieves pain, and makes your teeth healthy again.
When do you need a Root Canal?
You will need a root canal for a chipped or cracked tooth, deep decay from an untreated cavity, or issues from your previous filling. Here are some symptoms you may experience if you need a root canal:
- Tooth sensitivity (hot or cold sensations)
- Darkening gums or deep decay
- Tender or swollen gums
- Severe pain when biting or chewing
- Bumps or pimple-like bumps on the gum
- An abscessed tooth
- A cracked or chipped tooth
It’s important to address the root canal as soon as possible so the infection does not spread and cause issues beyond your mouth.
How long do Root Canals take?
Typically, root canals take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to complete, and for more complex situations it could take up to 90 minutes or more. The procedure typically requires an appointment or two to complete.
How are Root Canal procedures performed?
To perform a root canal, your dentist will x-ray your teeth to determine if performing the procedure is possible and if the infection has spread to other regions. If everything is good to go, the area around the tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic to start the procedure.
Once your tooth is numb, your dentist will then drill down into the tooth to create an opening into the canal. They will then be able to remove infected tissue and clean the canal. After the infection has been removed, the space is filled with a sealant called gutta percha. Your dentist may also prescribe oral antibiotics or over-the-counter pain medications to avoid post root canal pain.
Our office highly recommends that a tooth which has undergone a root canal is fitted with a crown. This will improve the appearance of the tooth and will also make it much more likely that the root canal is successful.
The most important question: does it hurt?
You won’t feel any pain during your root canal procedure thanks to the local anesthesia that we use! The pain associated with your root canal procedure comes from the tooth itself before you get it treated. The truth is, removing the infection is what will remove the pain. You may also feel a little pressure on your tooth during the procedure, but nothing more than that.
You will most likely experience mild pain and discomfort for a few days after your root canal. This pain is completely normal, and you can manage it with pain medications. Keep in mind that if your pain is lasting longer than a week, you should visit your dentist.