You’ve received the news that you need a root canal, and now you have a flurry of questions about what this means. You may wonder why you require this procedure, what it will be like, and how you will recover. Questions about root canals are very common. We hope to address many of the common concerns about root canals and hopefully relieve some of the fear and anxiety you may have around the procedure. Here are some common questions we get from patients about to undergo a root canal.
What is a root canal?
The goal of a root canal is to save an unhealthy tooth so it continues to functional in a healthy and optimal manner. A root canal is the process of removing the infected, injured or dead pulp from your tooth which is located in the tooth’s root. A root canal treatment is also known as an endodontic treatment and helps restore a tooth to its healthiest state. More than 15 million root canals are performed in the USA annually, and using modern dental technology, they are successful 95 percent of the time.
Why do I need one?
You may have noticed that your teeth are sensitive to hot and/ or cold, that they are tender to touch, that they are painful or throbbing, or that there is swelling on the gum line or face. These are symptoms of deep decay of the tooth, and signs that you may need a root canal to restore your tooth to optimal health. If left untreated these symptoms will get worse and in some cases, will surpass the need of a root canal, with extraction the only other option.
What is the experience of a root canal like?
A root canal is typically done over two appointments. It involves removing the pulp from your root canal through a small opening on the top of your tooth. After the pulp has been removed the canals are cleansed and sealed to prevent bacteria from reaching the bone. Your dentist will apply a local anesthetic to freeze the area that surrounds the tooth, so pain will be minimal. Once the pulp extraction has been completed, often a temporary or permanent filling is applied over the opening.
How do I prepare/ recover?
Preparing for your root canal will ensure notifying your dentist of any medications you are taking or if you have any medical conditions which leave you prone to infection. It is important to familiarize yourself with your dental insurance and any coverage that may be applicable, and plan for any financial costs that may be incurred. You may also want to speak to your dentist about anesthetic options and what you are likely to experience after being anesthetized.
After your root canal you will likely experience some tenderness to the area surrounding the tooth for a few days, and possible some mild soreness around the jaw. If administered an anesthetic, you will want someone to drive you home from your appointment. Typically regular activities can resume the following day and you will likely be completely back to normal and pain-free in the couple days following your procedure.
If you have further questions about having a root canal, make sure to consult your dentist they will be able to talk you through the procedure and address any of your concerns. Here at Whistler Dental we are happy to assist you with any dental questions that you have, simply send us an email, and we will be happy to help.