What Is a Root Canal, Exactly?

Tooth pain, apart from being a distracting and annoying problem, is often an indicator of a much more serious issue. Infection or decay inside the tooth, if left unchecked, can be painful and in the long run can ruin your dental health. A host of issues, from swelling, abscesses, and bone loss may occur without the proper treatment. And though a root canal sounds like an intimidating procedure, it’s in fact very straightforward. Under the care of a well-trained and experienced dentist, this treatment will help to keep your mouth healthy for years to come.

Why You May Need a Root Canal

The most common situation that requires a patient to undergo a root canal is often when the nerve and pulp inside a tooth becomes compromised in some way. This includes any irritation, infection, or inflammation. This often occurs after damage to the tooth, where a chip or crack has formed. While toothache is a common symptom, other signs include:

1. Painful sensitivity to temperature, including hot and cold beverages
2. Having trouble chewing or talking due to swelling in the gums
3. Darkening or discoloration of the tooth

All of these things can indicate that the nerve or pulp tissue in your tooth has been affected and may be breaking down. This damage enables bacteria to grow and thrive inside the pulp chamber, causing decay and a possible abscess.What-Is-a-Root-Canal-Exactly

What Is a Root Canal?

Before and During Procedure
To avoid the pain and degeneration caused by an untreated tooth infection, a root canal may need to be performed. Your dentist will be able to determine this through an examination and X-ray whether there are any signs of infection. If it’s discovered that you do need a root canal, your dentist will begin by administering anesthesia and prepping the area, making sure to keep it as sterile and dry as possible. Afterward, a small hole to access the interior of the tooth will be drilled so that the bacteria, damaged pulp and nerve tissue, and any other debris can be removed.

After Procedure
After the inside of the tooth is completely cleaned and rinsed, it will need to be sealed. This can occur on the same day as the procedure or after a week or so, in the event that your dentist had to apply medication to combat the infection and it needs some time to work. After sealing the tooth with a paste (usually a rubber compound), restorative measures may also be required to strengthen the tooth. Though the procedure itself isn’t especially painful for most patients, you may still need some relief during the healing process. In that case, an over-the-counter pain medication can help to alleviate some of the discomfort.
Don’t let your tooth pain become a much bigger problem. Visit your dentist for regular check ups and take responsibility for your oral health.

At My Family Dentistry, we specialize in comfortable root canals. Performed in our relaxing office, where your comfort is key, we ensure that you’re prepared with all the information you need, excellent care during the procedure, and thorough instructions for aftercare. Read a few testimonials from our clients and schedule your appointment today.

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