There is quite a bit of misinformation surrounding the root canal procedure, which can make the prospect of having the treatment quite scary! Never fear: the root canal treatment is actually less daunting than you may think. To eliminate any anxiety you may be experiencing, here are some answers to the most common questions surrounding this procedure.
1. Why would I need a root canal?
Root canal procedures are used to salvage a tooth after the pulp (or innermost tissue) has been infected. This infection can result from severe tooth decay or even an injury, and ultimately causes the tissue within the tooth to die. Therefore, a root canal procedure is used to remove the infected tissue, eliminate the painful symptoms of severe decay, and save the tooth.
2. How quickly do I need to seek treatment?
The sooner you can treat an infection, the better. Waiting to remedy these symptoms could actually cause a lot of pain and damage in the long run. For starters, the infection can worsen over time. Also, waiting can make it more likely that you will need to replace the tooth entirely. Therefore, if you’re experiencing painful symptoms of severe decay, be certain to go to the dentist immediately.
3. How do I know I need a root canal?
There are a number of symptoms that can occur when you have an infection deep within the tooth. You may find that you have lingering sensitivity to heat and cold, which can sustain for over 30 seconds after coming into contact with the stimulus. You will likely have dental pain when biting into crunchy foods or even jumping up and down. Also look for inflammation of the gums or discoloration of the dental enamel as a sign of infection. You may even experience jaw pain and headaches that radiate from the tooth into your jaw and temples. It should be noted that, if you don’t experience pain with these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean you don’t have a deep infection. If you notice a small pimple on the gums beneath the tooth in question, it could be allowing for drainage and therefore releasing painful pressure. This does not mean that the infection is any less urgent, and it should be addressed immediately.
4. How do root canals work?
The root canal procedure is a relatively clear-cut process. First, your dentist will administer a local anesthetic so you don’t feel a thing during the procedure. They may also place a dental dam to isolate the tooth and keep it clean. Then, they will create a tiny opening in the top of the tooth with a small drill. This will give them access to the inside of the tooth, from which they will use a small file to clean away damaged or infected pulp. After the inside of the tooth is clear of infected tissue, your dentist will insert an antimicrobial solution to ensure the infection is cleared. Your dentist will then fill the opening with a rubber-like material called gutta percha, and close the opening with a temporary filling until a permanent crown can be placed.
5. Are root canals painful?
Contrary to popular belief, root canals are no more painful than your average dental filling. While root canals may have been painful in the past, advancements in modern technology have made this a relatively easy procedure. In fact, many patients feel considerable relief from the pain once the procedure has been completed, as the infection is more painful than the procedure itself.
Are you experiencing severe dental pain and think you may require a root canal procedure? If so, contact Meadows Dental Care in Palatine immediately to schedule your appointment!