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Putting an End to the Misconceptions About Root Canals

When people think of root canals, they think of a painful procedure that they want to avoid at all costs. However, it’s a misconception that root canals are painful. In fact, it’s a common and virtually painless procedure that can help you keep a damaged or infected tooth that would otherwise have to be removed. Below are some more facts that you should know about root canals.

Understanding Why People Need Root Canals

To fully understand the benefits of root canals, you have to know why they’re necessary. Root canals are done on teeth after the inner pulp becomes infected or damaged in some way. The infected pulp not only puts you at risk of bacteria entering your bloodstream but also can cause severe tooth pain.

The goal of a root canal is to open up the tooth and clean out the infected pulp. In the process, the dentist will clean the inside of your tooth before sealing it back up to prevent further infection.

If you suffer from severe tooth pain, it’s important that you set up an appointment to visit your dentist sooner rather than later. If left untreated, the infected tooth can be damaged beyond repair. At that point, the only option is to remove the tooth completely.

Determining If a Root Canal Is the Right Option for You

You don’t have to decide if a root canal is right for you on your own. Your dentist will let you know whether or not you need a root canal.

However, there could be other options that your dentist will talk to you about. Then, it’s up to you to decide if a root canal is the right course of action. Here are a few questions to ask your dentist so that you can make an informed decision:

  • How much will it cost to get a root canal?
  • Does insurance cover any of the cost of a root canal?
  • Are there any risks involved with opting for a root canal?
  • How long does it take to get a root canal?
  • What’s involved in the root canal procedure?
  • Are there any other treatments that might be a better fit than a root canal?
  • Are root canals painful?

Hopefully, getting the answers to these questions will help you see that root canals aren’t painful and are a good treatment option.

What Are the Warning Signs That You Need a Root Canal?

If you are concerned you may have a root canal, there are warning signs that might indicate that you need a root canal. For example, severe tooth pain or pain that never seems to let up could be a sign that a root canal is necessary.

Also, you should be on the lookout for swollen or red gums and tooth discoloration. The affected tooth might be extremely sensitive to hot and cold too. It’s likely that you’ll experience those sensations while eating or drinking.

A Guide to Understanding the Entire Root Canal Procedure

One reason that people fear root canals is because they don’t know what to expect. Thankfully, we can ease this fear by explaining what takes place during a root canal in a step-by-step fashion. This will help you see that root canals are nearly painless and relatively quick.

Determining If You Need a Root Canal

First, you need to visit your dentist to determine if your tooth pulp has become infected. If it has, your dentist will be able to tell that you need a root canal. However, if you experience any extreme tooth pain in between visits, you should schedule an earlier appointment instead of waiting for your checkup.

Beginning the Root Canal

After it’s determined that you need a root canal, it’s time to start the almost painless procedure. To start with, your dentist will numb your tooth’s nerves and the surrounding gums to ensure that the whole process is painless. You may feel a prick and pressure when the anesthetic is being injected, but the discomfort only lasts a few seconds.

Making a Hole to Remove the Infected Pulp

With the inside of your mouth numb, your dentist will make a hole in the affected tooth. The hole makes it possible to reach the pulp, which will be removed. While removing the pulp, the dentist will clean the inside of the tooth as well.

Restoring the Tooth to Working Condition

After the pulp is removed and the tooth is cleaned, the dentist will fill the hole with a permanent filling. A temporary crown will be placed on the top of the tooth to seal it as well. This temporary crown is just a placeholder until you can get a permanent crown put on.

What You Should Expect Once Your Root Canal Is Done

Once your dentist finishes the root canal, you’ll be sent home. For the next few days, you could feel a bit of tingling or tenderness around the treated tooth. The tingling indicates that the healing process is underway. The good news is that these symptoms are typically treatable with mild over-the-counter pain relievers.

Your dentist will give you some tips on how to help speed up your recovery. Typically, these instructions involve not eating until after your anesthetic runs out. This precaution ensures that you don’t accidentally bite your cheek or tongue.

Beyond that, your dentist will want you to avoid chewing on the affected tooth for a few days while it heals. During this time, you should brush and floss like you normally would. However, brush and floss lightly around the treated tooth to avoid irritation.

Scheduling a Follow-up

After your root canal, your dentist will want to schedule a follow-up. During this visit, the dentist will ensure that the root canal treatment was successful and put your permanent crown in place.

Take back control of your oral health with a root canal. Contact our friendly staff today to schedule a dental exam to see if a root canal is the right choice for you.

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