Without proper brushing and flossing, your teeth can become decayed. If the problem is caught early, a simple dental filling for the cavity would be enough to treat the problem. If you have a tooth that is severely decayed, and placing a filling over the cavity won’t help, you may need a root canal. Often times, a root canal is the only way to save the tooth. A dental professional will determine that you need a root canal either during a regular dental checkup or during an emergency visit for a toothache.
Many people have a fear of dentists, dental surgeons, and orthodontists. This fear can be made worse when patients hear that they need certain procedures. One of the main procedures that gives people the most anxiety is the root canal. Many people hear the term “root canal”, and automatically their brain goes directly to fear and pain. This is not the case. Root canals are not as unpleasant as people think they are. After a person knows the root canal process, it can seem much less serious.
The Root Canal Procedure
When the patient first arrives for their root canal procedure, a local anesthesia would be administered through injections in the gums. This will ensure that the tooth that is being treated, and the surrounding teeth are numb. If the pulp in the tooth is seriously inflamed, it can take a while for the area to become numb. Many patients who have had a root canal in the past said that the most pain that they had was when they got the anesthesia shot.
A root canal is a surgical treatment, and it is necessary for the surgical field to be sterile. In order for the treatment to be sterile, a dental dam would be placed over the tooth being treated and the surrounding teeth. The dental surgeon would poke a hole in the dental dam so that they can reach it for treatment.
After you are numb and the area has been prepared, the surgeon would drill a small access hole so that he can get to the infected pulp. He will use tools to remove the diseased, dead pulp from the root canal and pulp chamber. While this may sound painful, it isn’t. Your mouth will be numb due to the anesthesia, and the tissue that is inside is dead.
Next, the canals would be disinfected with an antibacterial and antiseptic solution. This is done to be sure that there are no microscopic traces of the infected pulp left in the canal. If there is an infection in the canal, the dental surgeon would put an antibiotic gel in the canal to kill the infection. They would then place a temporary sealant over the hole until the antibiotics have had a chance to work.
If there was no infection, or if there was and it has cleared up, the surgeon would fill the hole with a permanent filler. Even though the filler and sealant is permanent, a crown would need to be placed over the tooth to provide additional protection.
What To Expect After a Root Canal
After the procedure is complete, you will likely feel numb for a few more hours. After the anesthesia wears off, you can expect to feel a little bit of discomfort. Taking an over the counter pain reliever will stop the pain. If the pain is severe and lasts several days, you should contact the dentist. As soon as the numbness from the anesthesia has worn off, you should have no problems eating.
The root canal process is not as bad as most people think. The more you understand the procedure, the less fear and anxiety you should feel. Patents should know that the words dentist and orthodontist should not be scary ones.