Root Canals Can Prevent Tooth Loss
When people hear they need a root canal, they often immediately panic. Root canals have a somewhat poor reputation, mostly because of misinformation. Root canal procedures save teeth. It is important to dispel the myths and look at what happens when someone has a root canal procedure.
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure that involves removing the infected inner parts of the tooth. Sometimes, decay or injuries can lead to infected tooth pulp. The pulp supplies nutrients to the tooth and ensures it remains viable. When the pulp has been compromised, tooth death can occur rapidly, and the infection can spread.
Reasons Patients Need Root Canals
Patients need root canal procedures for different reasons, but there is always a common goal of protecting the tooth and stopping infection and pain. The following are some reasons patients undergo this procedure.
- Cracked or chipped teeth
- Tooth abscesses
- Darkening of a tooth
- Prolonged tooth sensitivity
- Severe decay
When a tooth suffers damage, whether, from an injury or decay, the nerve can become exposed, causing serious pain. It is imperative patients have their root canal procedure carried out as soon as possible to avoid the spread of infection and increasing pain.
What to Expect from a Root Canal?
Millions of patients go through root canal procedures each year to save their teeth. There is no reason to be nervous about having a root canal because the procedure is not painful and causes no more discomfort than a tooth extraction.
It is important to note that root canals are done under a local anesthetic, so patients will not feel any pain while their procedure is in process. The numbing shots cause a bit of a pinching sensation, but the medication works quickly to numb the area.
Once the patient is numb, a small opening is made in the tooth’s crown. This opening gives the dentist access to the inner parts of the tooth, which include the pulp, blood vessels, and nerves. These tissues can become inflamed or infected, and root canals seek to remove the diseased tissue and protect the integrity of the tooth.
During the procedure, all the affected tissues are removed. The dentist will use special tools called canal files to clean the canals inside the roots and make sure all infected tissue is removed.
Sometimes, the nerve needs to be removed, to ensure it no longer causes pain. Adult teeth no longer require the nerve roots, and they are unnecessary for chewing. Once removed, patients often feel a great level of comfort.
If an infection was inside the tissues, the dentist will not close the tooth right away. Instead, it will be packed with medication until all signs of infection are removed.
When it comes time for the tooth to be filled and sealed, a special material called gutta-percha is put in place. This material mimics the natural tooth pulp. It is rubbery and can expand and contract with changing temperatures inside the mouth.
A hard sealant is placed over the opening of the tooth to seal it and strengthen it, so further damage does not occur. Depending on the damage and the tooth, patients will have a crown put in place at this point. The back molars will especially need a crown after a root canal.
The Benefits of Root Canals
This virtually painless procedure is carried out to help people overcome damage and infections that could lead to tooth loss. Being aware of the benefits of root canal procedures is critical for helping patients to make informed decisions for their oral healthcare needs.
- A root canal can relieve the unrelenting pain of a severe infection or inflamed tissues.
- Root canals help to stop the spread of infection and damage that can lead to tooth loss.
- This procedure is more efficient than a tooth extraction.
- When a root canal treatment is coupled with a crown, the results are aesthetically pleasing.
- Many patients are surprised to learn root canals are less expensive than the full tooth extraction process, which often involves multiple appointments and procedures.
- Most dental insurance policies cover root canal procedures.
How Do You Know If You Need a Root Canal?
Those who see their dentist regularly will be monitored for signs of problems with the health of their teeth. If issues arise in between dental visits, patients need to look for the following.
- Severe pain that occurs when chewing or biting down
- Blistering, swelling, or pus drainage on the gums
- Ongoing sensitivity that does not dim
- Darkening of the gum tissue around a tooth
- Worsening decay that runs deep into the tooth
If any of the above symptoms are occurring, patients need to schedule a dental appointment right away. The dentist will examine the tooth and take X-rays. With both, the dentist will decide if a root canal is the right treatment.
Root canals help to heal teeth and prevent the reoccurrence of infection. This dental procedure is no more difficult than any other, and patients do not feel any pain.
How to Care for Your Tooth After a Root Canal
It is important to follow the instructions of the dentist, to ensure proper healing. Some tips can make recovery much easier for patients.
- Eat a soft foods diet for the first few days so there is no pressure on the healing tooth.
- Work towards reducing the number of sugary drinks you consume each day.
- Floss once a day, being careful around the tooth that had the root canal.
- Brush twice a day, using gentle motions around the tooth.
Schedule an Appointment
Are you experiencing unrelenting pain or signs of infection or decay? Schedule a dental appointment right away. Waiting too long could put your oral health in danger.
Root canals have come a long way since they were first introduced in 1838. Today, advances in dental science allow for a much more comfortable procedure that offers beneficial results.
Call today to schedule an examination. With prompt dental care, it is possible to save your tooth and prevent ongoing damage, while stopping the pain.