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Shedding Light on the Truth About Root Canals

When people don’t understand something, they tend to fear it. That’s often the culprit behind the fear of getting a root canal. To make matters worse, a lot of misconceptions add to the confusion.

Thankfully, root canals aren’t as bad as everyone fears. Let’s take a closer look at root canals so that we can shine some light on these misconceptions.

Root Canals: Why Are They Needed?

In short, root canals are a treatment method that dentists use to clean infected or damaged pulp out of a tooth. Cleaning out the infected pulp is important because it can cause severe tooth pain and infect other teeth.

Failure to visit your dentist once tooth pulp has become infected or damaged can result in increasing pain. If you wait too long to get treatment, a root canal might not be possible. Once that happens, tooth removal becomes the only option.

Is a Root Canal the Right Fit for You?

Determining if a root canal is right for you is something best left up to your dentist. Only a professional can let you know if you’re a good candidate to save a damaged tooth and undergo this procedure.

That being said, you can ask your dentist a few questions to help you determine if getting a root canal is the route that you want to take. In some situations, there could be other options.

During your dental visit, some concerns that you may have include whether there will be any pain during the procedure and what the procedure involves. Finding out might make you feel more comfortable if your dentist thinks that a root canal is your best option.

Also, you may want to discuss the price with your dentist. Ask about how much a root canal is and if your insurance policy will at least cover some of the cost.

Lastly, ask your dentist if there are any risks involved with getting a root canal and what the recovery time is. You may be shocked to learn that it doesn’t take long to heal after getting a root canal.

Dental Problems You Should Have Checked Out Right Away

People experience issues with their dental health all the time. Oftentimes, these problems can wait until their next dental visit.

However, you should never wait to get certain dental issues looked at. Here are some common problems that might indicate that you need a root canal and should visit your dentist right away:

  • Swollen gums or gums that are red in color
  • Tooth discoloration on one or multiple teeth
  • Extreme pain in a tooth, or tooth pain that doesn’t let up
  • Lingering pain after exposing a tooth to hot or cold foods or liquids
  • Gums that are tender when you touch them
  • Little bumps have formed on the gums around a sensitive tooth

A Closer Look at the Root Canal Procedure

One of the best ways to clear up misconceptions about root canals is to understand what the procedure entails. By understanding the procedure, you can gain more confidence about going to the dentist for a root canal.

1. Detecting an Infection Within Your Tooth

The first step is determining if you even need a root canal. This involves detecting if there’s an infection within one or multiple teeth. Your dentist will be able to determine whether or not your tooth has an infection. However, swollen or red gums is a sign that your tooth is infected.

2. Starting the Procedure of a Root Canal

If you need a root canal, your dentist will either perform it the same day or schedule a time to do it. On the day of the procedure, the dentist will numb the area around the infected tooth. The numbing process may be uncomfortable for a few seconds.

3. Taking Out the Infected Tooth Pulp

With the area numb, the dentist will make an opening within the tooth to gain access to the inner pulp. Next, the dentist will use special tools to carefully remove all of the infected or damaged tooth pulp. While doing this, the dentist will also clean the inside of your tooth to ensure that any and all debris has been removed.

4. Restoring Your Tooth

The last step involves restoring your tooth to working condition. This process starts with the dentist filling the inside of your tooth and placing a temporary crown over it. This crown is just used to seal your tooth until you can get a permanent crown put on. Typically, it only takes a few days to have a permanent crown made and attached.

Life After Your Root Canal

Once your root canal is done, it’s normal to experience some tingling or tenderness around the affected area. Usually, it only lasts for a few days and is a sign that the healing process is underway. The good news is that the symptoms are generally mild. Most people only need over-the-counter pain relievers to take the edge off.

Before you go home, though, the dentist will provide instructions on how to care for your tooth while it heals. Following these tips can speed up the recovery process.

Firstly, your dentist will tell you not to eat anything until the anesthetic has worn off. Waiting prevents you from accidentally biting your tongue or cheek. Additionally, you can continue to floss and brush like you normally would. However, you need to be more gentle around the treated tooth to avoid irritating it.

Schedule a Follow-up Appointment

After you complete your root canal, you’ll have to return to the dentist a few days later. During this visit, the dentist will examine your tooth to make sure that the healing process is going well. It’s usually during this appointment that the dentist fits you for a permanent crown as well.

Give us a call today if you experience tooth pain. You may be a good candidate for a root canal.

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