What to Expect From a Root Canal

Man Sitting In Dental Chair

Fear of pain is one of the top reasons people put off going to the dentist. They envision a bunch of equipment in their mouth, and they expect that process to be painful and unpleasant. One of the most dreaded dental procedures is the root canal. However, knowledge about why you need one and what to expect during the procedure can help reduce your fear and make you a bit more comfortable scheduling that appointment.

What is a Root Canal?

Basically, a root canal is the last resort for a damaged tooth. If your tooth is severely decayed or infected, other procedures aren’t enough to help repair it. The root canal procedure exists to remove infected parts of your tooth. This keeps your tooth inside your mouth and helps keep you healthy. Without it, your tooth will continue to deteriorate and infection will spread. Once all the infected contents of your tooth are removed during the procedure, your dentist will fill your tooth in and seal it.

When Should You Consider a Root Canal?

A root canal, as mentioned above, is the last resort. It’s only used when the root of the tooth is damaged. If you have small dental issues, other procedures can be used to fix them. A root canal is used only when the tooth is basically dead. A dentist can inform you if your root is damaged and infected. If not, there are still other options.

What Causes Root Damage?

There are a number of ways to damage the root of your tooth, such as decay, trauma, or repeated dental procedures. This is why it’s extremely important to take care of your teeth on a daily basis, as well as wear a mouth guard when you’re playing sports. These two habits will decrease your risk of decay and trauma and potentially save you from a root canal procedure.

What Signs Should You Look For?

If you think you might need a root canal you should schedule an appointment with your dentist asap. If you’re unsure, here are a few things to look for that might suggest your tooth is in need of the procedure.

  • Tooth Discoloration or darkening
  • Tender or swollen gums
  • Severe toothache
  • Extreme sensitivity to heat or cold
  • Reoccurring pimples on the gums
  • What is the Procedure Like?

It’s really not that bad. It’s not fun, but it’s not as scary as people often think. You should prepare to sit in the dental chair for a while, with your mouth constantly open. This can cause discomfort and be a bit annoying. A great way to make the time pass quicker and distract yourself from the unpleasant feeling is to listen to a book on tape. While the thought of having a dentist remove parts of your tooth, especially when dealing with the root, sounds terrifying and painful, you shouldn’t worry. A good dentist can make this experience feel similar to a routine tooth filling. After the dentist has sealed your tooth, you’ll need to come back to get a crown placed so that you can use it like normal again.

Can I Wait?

You might think that since your tooth is pretty much dead that you can put off getting a root canal. Wrong. Once you discover you need to have the procedure, you need to do is as soon as possible. You’re dealing with an infection in your tooth, and infections should never be ignored or downplayed. The infection in your tooth won’t stay there if you put off the procedure. It will spread. It’s best to have it cleaned out, and the infected parts removed before it becomes a larger problem. In addition to scheduling your root canal, your dentist will put you on antibiotics. Again, you need this as soon as you know there’s an infection.

You shouldn’t let fear stop you from taking care of yourself. Most of the time, fear itself is the worst part of it. So do yourself a favor, and see a dentist if you believe your tooth is in need of a root canal. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us.

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