Root canal therapy has gotten a bad reputation over the years. Many people fear root canals, because they've heard how painful they can be. Truth is, a root canal can actually give you almost immediate relief from the pain you've been having.
What Are Root Canals?
A root canal is an alternative to extracting or repairing an infected or damaged tooth. During a root canal, the canals in the root of the tooth are cleaned to prevent a dangerous infection or abscess from bacteria that have made their way into a damaged tooth. Left untreated, an infection could lead to bone loss, pulp death, or loss of teeth.
Those in need of a root canal may experience pain or difficulty eating or sleeping. Other symptoms include sensitivity to hot or cold, or swollen or tender gums. If you experience these symptoms, you may need to seek professional dental treatment.
The Root Canal Procedure
The procedure starts with the numbing of the area of the infected tooth. The damaged parts of the tooth are then removed to allow access to the pulp. The diseased pulp is then removed, the canals are cleaned and flushed, and the tooth is disinfected. Next, a sealer paste and rubber compound are placed in the canal. The procedure ends with a permanent filling and, often, a crown to help restore the tooth and prevent further damage.
Post-root Canal Care
The numbness from the procedure will last for a few hours after it is over. We recommend you do not eat while you are numb, as you risk biting yourself. Otherwise you should be able to return to normal activity right after the procedure. Pain medications or antibiotics may be recommended, depending on the severity of the infection.