Ever heard the expression, “I’d rather get a root canal than (insert dreaded task here)?” Root canals have received a negative reputation throughout the years. The treatment isn’t nearly as invasive as people believe it is. When you have a skilled dentistry team, the procedure is even less intense and serious than people may realize. Therefore, it helps to fully understand this procedure to ease your mind.
Root Canal Procedure General Information
During a root canal, your dentist will remove the pulp of an infected or severely damaged tooth. This portion of your tooth contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues. As a result, the infection or damage could cause pain and sensitivity. You may notice the pain is worse after root canals when your tooth comes in contact with something cold or hot. The purpose of the root canal is to get rid of the infected portion of the tooth so you don’t have discomfort.
Root Canal Dental Process
Firstly, our dentist will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area so you feel no pain during the root canals procedure. In the event you have dental anxiety, we may recommend a sedative.
Next, our practitioner will make a small incision in the top of the tooth to remove the pulp by using root canal dental files.
After a complete cleansing, our practitioner may apply a topical antibiotic to the inside of the tooth to prevent reinfection and ensure all the infection is treated. In some cases, our practitioner will give you a prescription for an oral antibiotic to further reduce your infection risk.
Once your tooth is entirely cleaned out, our practitioner will apply a sealer along with gutta-percha — a dental-safe material similar to rubber.
Finally, our dentist will apply a temporary filling to the opening. It tends to be softer than a standard filling but can prevent food and bacteria from entering until the practitioner can place a permanent one. For a permanent filling, the practitioner will remove the temporary one and replace it with the permanent one, which may consist of a metal, composite resin, glass ionomer, or porcelain. The material depends on the location of the root canal, budget, and personal preference.
Root Canal Recovery
Unless you take a sedative, you can leave the office immediately after the procedure and even drive yourself home. Usually, it takes between 30 and 60 minutes before the local anesthesia will wear off. Some people may notice the effects lingering for several hours after their procedure. As a general rule, how long it lasts depends on factors, such as the dosage or your metabolism.
Once the anesthesia does wear off, you may feel pain and discomfort. Keep in mind that the procedure may irritate your surrounding nerves and tissue. After a root canal, you can expect to have mild to moderate pain for the initial few days. To prevent pain, our practitioner will educate you on the foods you should eat immediately following the procedure, like cottage cheese and applesauce. Our dentist will inform you that you shouldn’t eat anything, though, until all the numbness has worn off from the local anesthetic.
You may return to school or work immediately following the procedure since it doesn’t require a sedative or general anesthetic.
Additionally, our practitioner may recommend you take an over-the-counter analgesic on an as-needed basis.
Although we take every step to make a root canal as easy on you as possible, we understand why you may not want one. Fortunately, you have other options, including a bridge, implant, or extraction.
At our family dentistry practice, you can receive a root canal in the event you have a severe tooth infection or extensive damage.
With a root canal, there’s no need to be put under. The procedure can be done completely in the office; you can leave the same day and resume almost all your usual daily activities.