Root canals are completed to preserve teeth with badly infected roots. Inside each tooth is a chamber that houses nerves and blood vessels. Sometimes, untreated decay or trauma can lead to this canal within the tooth getting infected. This infection can spread and become an abscess. Root canals are needed to remove the infected material inside the tooth, where it is replaced with an antibacterial filler that will preserve the tooth and healthy tissue surrounding it.
The term “root canal” seems to elicit fear and anxiety for some people, but root canals are nothing like they were in previous decades. Modern root canals are actually quite safe, simple, and not uncomfortable procedures.
Signs you may need a root canal:
- Severe pain or discomfort
- Sign of infection, such as bumps on your gums
- Sensitivity to hot or cold food/beverages
- Swollen, darkening or tender gums
- Chipped or cracked tooth
- An abscess
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What to Expect from Root Canal Treatment?
A sequence of tests is performed to isolate the affected tooth. This examination along with digital X-rays will help to isolate the problematic tooth. Depending on the test results, a root canal may be recommended.
The tooth will be completely numbed using a combination of topical and local anesthetic. Once you are fully numb, the canal inside the tooth will be cleaned and sealed with a filler. This process usually takes a single visit but in cases of excessive swelling or abscessing it may take two procedures (first for the placement of an antibiotic inside the tooth so that the swelling can go down, and a second to complete the root canal.) Once the root canal is completed, the dentist will place a temporary filling material. Usually, this material is later replaced with a permanent crown over the tooth.
We will do everything possible to make your root canal procedure as comfortable as possible. If you’re anxious about dental work, ask us about sedation options that are offered at Riverbend Family Dentistry.
What Should I Expect After My Visit?
It is normal to experience sensitivity for a few days after a root canal; however, this discomfort should subside.
Because the tooth that is infected can sometimes be compromised in structure or otherwise chipped or discolored, typically a crown may need to be placed over the tooth in order to restore its chewing function and integration with your other healthy teeth. Crowns are usually placed after a root canal is performed on the back molars. Crowns help to preserve the affected tooth for years after the procedure is done.
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