The words “root canal” used to be code for a painful procedure. But a lot has changed about root canals over the past couple of decades. Thanks to advances in dental technology and better precision, the treatment is no longer synonymous with pain. You can have a root canal and recover, with minimal discomfort, within just a few hours.
If you need a root canal, you want to know what will happen during the procedure and why you need to have it done. See if you could be a candidate for a root canal.
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure that cleans out infection and bacteria from the root of your tooth. A root canal aims to preserve most of the original tooth, eliminating the need to remove and replace the tooth. The dentist will take out the infected pulp from the root and disinfect the inside of the tooth. Then they fill the tooth and seal it up.
Root canals are more complicated than a filling and take more time, but they are relatively painless. You will be numb but conscious during the root canal, and you may take an over-the-counter pain medication to deal with any soreness afterward.
When Is a Root Canal Necessary?
The most common causes of a root canal include:
- Cracked tooth.
- Problems with a previous filling.
- A cavity that reaches deep into the tooth.
An infection inflames the tooth, which may hurt when you chew or cause sensitivity to hot or cold. Other symptoms that indicate you need a root canal include tooth discoloration or browning and darkened gums, which can indicate an infection or decay.
You should tell your dentist when you feel pain in your tooth or gums. While you may not always need a root canal or another procedure, your dentist needs to track the general health of your mouth, and it helps to know when something is off. The need for a root canal may develop over time, and your dentist can follow up with you during your biannual cleanings about symptoms you reported the last time.
Root canals are necessary when a filling won’t be enough to treat the tooth. It means the infection has spread to the tooth’s roots, but the tooth can survive without the pulp. It will draw nourishment from the surrounding tissue to stay healthy.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Root Canal?
Root canal recovery usually lasts just a few hours. You can return to work or school after getting a root canal. You may experience some swelling or slight discomfort at the site of the procedure, but that will go away quickly. You can eat again after the numbing agent wears off, which takes a few hours. Most people feel fine the following day.
Are you experiencing symptoms associated with needing a root canal? Make an appointment with our office today so we can look at your tooth and offer guidance on the proper treatment.