Hearing the dentist say that you need a root canal causes immediate panic and fear for many people. Getting a root canal is unpleasant to many, but necessary if you want to save your tooth. Tooth cavities eat your tooth enamels away and cause holes in your teeth. If the cavity goes past the enamel and into the pulp of the tooth, it causes intense pain and infections.
The good thing about current medicine is that people no longer have to fear root canals. Modern endodontists and dentists have made root canals comfortable and easy for you. Here is what you should expect from a root canal.
During a root canal, the connective tissue that makes up the pulp of the tooth is removed. Before the procedure starts, the dentist takes an X-ray of the affected area. This will determine the extent of the cavity. It also helps the dentist to see if the tooth is infected. Depending on the results of the X-ray, the dentist can come up with a plan for your root canal.
A root canal is done in stages. Depending on the extent of the cavity, your dentist advises on the number of visits required to complete the root canal. Simple root canals are done by the dentist. If the cavity has extensively affected the pulp of the tooth, gums, nerves, and bone, the case is handled by an endodontist.
People fear root canals because they relate them to intense pain. Modern medicine has improved pain management. Surgical procedures don’t have to be painful today if managed well. The dentist uses a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth. This protects you from pain during the procedure. You are also given oral pain medication to take after the procedure.
A root canal is an outpatient procedure. The dentist drills a hole from the top of the tooth to the pulp. This hole serves as the access point for the dentist to remove decayed enamel, tissue, and pulp. The tooth is cleaned thoroughly and then sealed semi-permanently. If the tooth is infected, medication is put inside to clear the infection.
During your follow-up appointment, the tooth is filled with sealant and a rubber compound. Depending on the severity of the cavity, the dentist may conduct some restorative treatment. Some people get a crown to stabilize the tooth.
As the tooth-numbing anesthetic wears off, you may feel discomfort, pain, and soreness. The dentist may recommend pain medication if the pain becomes too much to bear. You will also be prescribed an antibiotic to help clear any infectious bacteria and inflammation. You should chew with the opposite side of your mouth until it's comfortable to eat on the treated tooth. If the tooth has lost most of its structure, you can schedule an appointment to cover it with a crown.
To learn more about root canals, contact Tulane Family Dentistry in New Orleans, LA at (504) 226-5740 to book an appointment today.