To many people, even the idea of root canal treatment causes shivers down the spine. This particular dental procedure has a bad reputation for being the worst news you can get from a dentist.
The truth, however, is that the root canal procedure is designed to relieve pain, not cause it.
Here at Wagner Dental, we want you to not only receive the treatments you need, but to be totally and wholly comfortable with those treatments.
What Is a Root Canal?
When you experience a regular cavity, it attacks the crown, which is the visible portion of the tooth. Cleaning a cavity and filling is a relatively simple procedure. However, sometimes an infection occurs deep in the tooth root canal, rather than the crown. In such a case, root canal therapy is necessary.
Although the portion being cleaned is different, the actual steps of the process are extremely similar to a standard cavity filling. When you get a root canal treatment, we will:
- Enter the tooth through the crown, just as we would when accessing a standard cavity.
- Use a long, thin tool to clean out any infected material inside the root.
- Fill the tooth with a biocompatible material.
- Cap the newly-cleaned tooth with a dental crown.
How Do You Know If You Need a Root Canal?
Patients have a number of questions, when it comes to dental procedures. These questions may include, “When do you need a root canal?”, “What causes a root canal?”, and “What are the root canal symptoms?”
Here are a few signs you need a root canal:
Pain | This is the number one indicator that a root canal procedure may be necessary. If you are experiencing severe pain, we can even perform an emergency root canal at our soonest available time slot.
Temperature Sensitivity | If you are extremely sensitive to heat and cold near that tooth, you may be experiencing a severe infection.
Swelling or Sensitivity | You may need treatment if you experience swelling and sensitivity in either the gums around the tooth or the tooth itself, or if eating is difficult for you because of that tooth.
Tooth Discoloration | This may not necessarily be a root infection. It could be a standard cavity. Either one should be treated as soon as possible.
Do Root Canals Hurt?
This is an age-old question that sometimes causes people to avoid seeking treatment for painful toothaches in fear that the treatment will be worse.
We are happy to announce, however, that this is no longer something you need to fear in a root canal. Our modern anesthetics are extremely effective, and can be administered with great precision, thus eliminating root canal pain during the procedure.
How Does the Root Canal Recovery Process Work?
After root canal treatment, we recommend eating carefully. Until your mouth has completely healed from the procedure, it may be helpful to eat only soft foods and avoid severe temperature changes.
Your tooth will likely be a little bit sore. A few days of recovery time will be necessary. Even during this time, though, there should not be any particularly severe pain or dramatic side effects.
Pain after root canals should decrease over time. If you still experience pain or swelling, come back to the office immediately.
Is There an Alternative to Root Canal Treatments?
When you experience a severely infected tooth, it must be dealt with one way or another. If left untreated, the infection in the tooth can spread to other teeth, as well as other parts of the body. However you choose to do so, the infected pulp in the tooth needs to be removed.
Extraction is, in fact, an alternative to root canal treatment. It may even seem like a much better deal. However, a root canal has a generally better success rate than a tooth extraction for a number of reasons.
Root Canal vs. Extraction
- The removal of a tooth causes gum and bone recession in the jaw. Unless a dental implant replaces the pulled tooth, there will no longer be a tooth root present to stimulate the jawbone and keep it healthy.
- Gaps in your bite cause more difficulties with eating. You may begin to be limited in what foods you can and cannot enjoy.
- Speaking can become slurred. Missing teeth can cause the shape of your words to change, due to the spaces where airflow has now been altered.
There will certainly be times when extraction is a much better choice than a root canal, depending on the condition of the infected tooth. In most cases, though, saving the existing natural structure through the root canal process is a more desirable option, when possible.
Where Can I Get a Root Canal Near Me?
Wagner dental is happy to answer any of your questions, including “can you eat after a root canal?” and “how much does a root canal cost?” We can guide you through the creation of a treatment plan and provide the high quality services that will help your mouth feel happy and healthy once again. Make us your root canal dentist of choice!