The vast majority of patients cower in fear when they hear the words “root canal.” They may have heard the rumors that it’s an incredibly painful procedure that can lead to complications. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. If either Dr. Nathan or Dr. Christine says you need a root canal in Allen, rest assured you will be entirely comfortable during the treatment. In fact, it’s about as “painful” as getting a simple filling! Root canal therapy allows us to relieve your toothache and save your smile by preventing the need for a tooth extraction. Keep reading below to learn more about this safe and effective treatment.
A root canal, also known as endodontic treatment, is a restorative procedure in which the damaged inner portion of the tooth (the pulp) is removed and replaced with a biocompatible material. Once the procedure is finished, we usually place a permanent filling or dental crown over the tooth for added protection.
Before beginning the treatment, we numb your mouth with a local anesthetic. This ensures you don’t feel any discomfort during the procedure beyond a slight pressure. We create a small hole in the top of the tooth. Through this hole, we access and remove the pulp, including the nerve, and thoroughly disinfect the inside of the tooth. In some cases, we may apply a topical antibiotic to the area to kill as many bacteria as possible. After the tooth’s interior is completely sanitized, we fill the inside of it with a synthetic gutta-percha substance. From there, we may place a temporary restoration while you heal, and replace it with a permanent crown or filling a few weeks later.
Root canal therapy is necessary when decay, injury, or infection has reached the delicate center of the tooth. Usually this results in the mother of all toothaches, but sometimes the infection is so advanced that it causes no pain at all due to nerve damage. While only a dental professional can definitively determine whether you need a root canal, some common signs to watch out for include:
Lingering sensitivity in a tooth after heat, cold, or pressure
A dark-colored tooth or gums surrounding a tooth
A sore or bump on the nearby gums
A foul odor or pus coming from the tooth
In order to confirm that an infection is present, we need to perform X-rays of the area in question. Once we know exactly where the infection sits, we’ll begin numbing the area in order to perform treatment. Then, we’ll create a small access hole in the top of your tooth so we can clear away infected pulp, irrigate the tooth, and shape the canal. Once cleaned, we’ll place filler material inside the tooth to replace the pulp and seal the tooth with a custom-made dental crown. After completion, your tooth will be fully restored!
Contrary to popular belief, root canal therapy itself does not cause pain. This is because the treatment area is always numbed prior to treatment. Any discomfort that does occur is due to the infection itself or from soreness after surgery, which is typical for treatments like these. Furthermore, practicing good aftercare is essential to reducing discomfort and ensuring a speedy recovery.
For a few days after your root canal, you may experience some swelling or soreness. This is perfectly normal. Follow our dentists’ post-op instructions carefully. They may include suggestions such as avoiding strenuous exercise and adhering to a soft food diet until you feel comfortable chewing with your treated tooth. Take any prescribed pain medications as directed, and notify us if your discomfort doesn’t subside.
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