What You Need to Know About Root Canal Therapy Treatment
As You Prepare for Your Root Canal Appointment
Root canals once had a bad reputation as being painful, but modern dental care has kicked that misconception to the curb. This therapy is an incredibly useful treatment option for badly decayed or infected teeth that would otherwise need to be removed. In fact, root canals aren’t painful, but rather permanently stop the pain you’ve been experiencing from your damaged tooth.
Here are the answers to some questions you might have about root canal therapy.
What exactly is root canal therapy?
Root canal therapy is a form of restorative treatment used on teeth that are suffering from severe decay but are still salvageable. The process involves the removal of infected pulp inside the tooth within the canal of each tooth root. The now hollow tooth will be cleansed, disinfected, and restored. And the toothache pain will stop because the tooth will no longer have inflamed nerves within it.
Why does my tooth need a root canal?
This treatment is often recommended by dentists when a patient is suffering from pain in a tooth with infected pulp. When infection or decay is deeper than the tooth enamel, a simple filling isn’t usually enough. Instead, your tooth pulp will need to be removed to stop the pain, and the tooth will need a dental crown to protect it.
Dental crowns are necessary because your natural tooth will be more brittle and weak after the pulp has been removed. A finishing crown will give it back the strength of a healthy natural tooth.
Are there alternatives to root canal therapy?
In many cases, root canal therapy is recommended as a last resort option to save a vulnerable tooth. In other words, if your dentist recommends getting one it’s usually because the tooth would otherwise need to be extracted.
Your dentist is highly trained and educated and would only suggest a root canal if it’s necessary. They will also only recommend one if you’re an ideal candidate and your tooth has a high chance of being restored with a root canal.
What can I expect during my appointment?
Root canal treatments are fairly straightforward and most are over earlier than the patient anticipates. The actual procedure is made up of five different steps.
1. Numbing and Preparing the Tooth
Your dentist will numb your mouth and test to make sure your tooth is completely pain-free before starting. You’ll likely also have a dental dam placed to separate the tooth being treated from the rest of your mouth.
2. Removal of Exterior Decay
Your dentist will first remove any signs of decay or damaged tooth enamel on the outside of the tooth. This helps keep the tooth clean and sanitary before the crown of your tooth is opened for the actual root canal therapy.
3. Removal of Tooth Pulp
A small hole will be made in the crown of your tooth so your dentist can access the interior pulp with special dental tools. The infected pulp and any interior decay will be removed.
4. Disinfecting and Sealing
Once the infected pulp is removed from each root, the tooth will be flushed with a special dental disinfectant to ensure all signs of bacteria are gone. Your dentist will then fill the now-empty root canals with a rubber-like material and seal the tooth.
5. Dental Crown Restoration
The final step is the placement of a dental crown. Your dentist will take a digital impression of your tooth with the highly accurate iTero scanner, so no need for those gooey impressions of bygone days. Then she will send the image to a lab where your new crown will be milled and place a temporary crown. Once the permanent crown is finished, your dentist will have you come back for another appointment to have it placed.
A typical root canal treatment takes about 30 minutes to an hour. In more complex cases, such as a badly infected tooth or a tooth with abnormal roots, treatment may take over an hour to complete. Rest assured that your dentist will be working meticulously to remove all signs of decay and you’ll be numbed throughout the entire process.
How long does healing take after a root canal?
Immediately after your root canal, you may still feel pretty numb. Your dentist may recommend that you take an OTC pain medication when you get home to help ease any discomfort once you start getting feeling back in your mouth. Most people return to work the same day of their root canal, but it’s normal to feel mild discomfort or tenderness for a day or two afterwards.
If you do experience unusual pain in the tooth, a lot of swelling, or discomfort that lasts for more than a week, call your dentist for assistance.
Gentle and Effective Root Canal Therapy in Flower Mound, TX
Root canal therapy is a breeze when you have a caring, experienced dentist by your side. Dr. Naik will guide you through the root canal process, from initial consultation to developing a treatment plan, receiving treatment, and following up with routine dental care as an established patient.
When you’re ready to move forward, call our office or book an appointment online.