If you’re worried about root canal treatment – and many people are – you needn’t be. While you may be in pain before a root canal, you shouldn’t be afterward. And the procedure allows you to keep a tooth that is so damaged you’re in danger of losing it.
Keeping a tooth is better for your oral health than losing it. It also saves you the time and expense involved with a tooth replacement like a dental bridge or a dental implant.
We think you’ll be a lot less nervous about root canal therapy if you know exactly what to expect. So we’ve provided information about the procedure for you here. If you have any further questions about root canal treatment, or any dental procedure, call Bell Dental Group at 513-802-9440.
Why You Might Need Root Canal Treatment
Our Cincinnati, OH dentists will suggest root canal treatment if the soft pulp inside your tooth gets infected or inflamed. In some cases, the pulp may even already be dead. Some of the most common causes of this are:
- Decay that gets into the center of your tooth. If it isn’t repaired with a filling or other dental restoration, decay eats through your tooth’s enamel and into its soft center.
- Repeated dental procedures. These can weaken your tooth, exposing it to structural damage and infection.
- Cracked or broken tooth. If a crack exposes your tooth’s pulp, there’s a very good chance it will become infected.
Pulp Isn’t Essential in Mature Teeth
Pulp is found within a hollow chamber inside your tooth. Your pulp contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. While pulp is essential during development of teeth, mature teeth don’t need it. So you can keep your tooth intact even if pulp is removed. As we stated earlier, it’s a good idea to save your tooth if possible because it keeps nearby teeth from shifting out of place and also helps keep your jawbone strong and healthy.
Root Canal Treatment Removes Infected Pulp
Your dentist will use a piece of latex to isolate your tooth so it remains clean and dry during your procedure. He or she will make a small opening in the top of the tooth to access the interior and clean out the infected pulp with special instruments. Your dentist will disinfect the interior of your tooth, then fill it with a rubbery, biocompatible material called gutta percha. The final step is placing a filling or dental crown to protect your repaired tooth from breakage and other damage.
It usually takes one or two visits to complete root canal treatment. If two appointments are needed, we’ll seal your tooth with a temporary filling to protect it between visits.
How Do You Know If You Need Root Canal Treatment
Pain is the symptom that brings many people to our office. Infected teeth are often, although not always, painful. Other indicators you may notice:
- Sensitivity to hot or cold substances
- Tooth that is dark or discolored
- Trouble chewing
- Swelling around your tooth
If you have any of these symptoms, get to our Cincinnati, OH dentist office without delay. You can develop an abscess, a pocket of pus that can spread infection to surrounding bone and tissue and even other parts of your body.
How Painful Is Root Canal Treatment?
Most patients don’t find a root canal procedure any more uncomfortable than getting a tooth filling or a dental crown. No kidding! Your dentist will thoroughly numb your mouth with local anesthesia so you won’t feel a thing. We even use a computer-assisted anesthesia delivery system to make the anesthesia process completely foolproof.
If you’re still anxious about root canal treatment, you can get one of two forms of safe dental sedation. In addition, sedation makes it easier to remain still or keep your mouth open during treatment, which typically lasts 90 minutes or so.
Your choices are inhaled sedation, or laughing gas, or oral sedation in the form of a prescription pill. We will help you select the one that is right for your level of anxiety and the procedure.
No Special Care Needed After Root Canal Treatment
Unlike a tooth extraction, there is no bleeding after root canal treatment. You won’t have to make any modifications to your diet or oral hygiene routine after your procedure. If eating is uncomfortable at first, try to avoid chewing on the treated tooth.
You should feel little, if any, discomfort. The area around the affected tooth may feel a little tender, especially if you had an abscess. Take an over-the-counter pain medication if needed. If you still feel discomfort or notice any swelling after several days, call Bell Dental Group at 513-802-9440.