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What to Expect From a Root Canal Procedure

Overview of dental caries prevention
Over 15 million root canal procedures are performed by general dentists each year. Still, you may know little about them. Thus, if your dentist prescribes a root canal for your tooth, you may feel concerned and anxious about your upcoming appointment. 

Here are a few details about a root canal to explain why it is performed and what you can expect during your treatment. 

What Are Root Canal Treatments?

A root canal treatment is a special endodontic procedure in which the pulp of a tooth is removed and replaced with a sterile filling material. The pulp, which is where the dental nerves and blood supply of a tooth are located, is a soft material that is located in the center of a tooth. 

After your dentist has removed the pulp, they will disinfect the empty tooth and fill it. The newly filled tooth is covered by a dental crown for protection and fortification.

Why Are Root Canal Treatments Performed?

The purpose of root canal treatments is to remove infected or dead pulp material. After the procedure, the discomfort you felt from the damaged tooth is alleviated.

Infected Pulp

If infected pulp is not removed, the infection can spread to the other teeth or even to the bone of the jaw. An infection may result from a crack, chip, or other dental trauma. Additionally, the infection may develop from dental decay. 

Decay, which is the demineralization of the tooth, causes a breach to form in the enamel. This breach can permit oral bacteria to invade the tooth.

Dead Pulp

A root canal may also be necessary when the pulp material dies. The pulp is considered dead when blood no longer flows to the tooth.

The cessation of blood flow eventually leads to the tooth's release from the mouth. However, before the tooth falls out on its own, it may become infected. To avoid damage to the other teeth or soft tissues of the mouth, endodontic treatment is necessary before an infection develops. 

What Symptoms Indicate That a Root Canal May Be Needed?

Multiple symptoms may indicate that a root canal is needed to salvage a tooth. Here are a few of them:
  • Chronic tooth pain. Once the dental nerves of a tooth become inflamed, a chronic toothache may develop. 
  • Persistent dental sensitivity. Dental sensitivity may increase as the dental nerves become aggravated by the mounting pressure of the infected material accumulating within a tooth. 
  • Gingival abscess. A pimple-like abscess may develop as pus drains from an infected tooth and accumulates in the gum tissues. 
  • Dental discoloration. A tooth with dead pulp may darken in response to the lack of blood flow.
Once symptoms of a pulp problem present, have the tooth assessed as quickly as possible. A delay in the diagnosis and treatment of the tooth may result in tooth loss. 

Are Root Canals Painful?

Some people believe that root canal procedures are painful. However, the tooth and the surrounding soft tissues are numbed during the endodontic procedure to eliminate any discomfort. 

Your dentist will inject a local anesthetic into the gums near your tooth before they remove the pulp. As a result, the root canal procedure causes no more discomfort than a simple dental filling.

Is the Recovery Period Following a Root Canal Painful?

The recovery from a root canal is not usually painful. However, after the anesthesia from the procedure wears off, the treated tooth and the surrounding area may be a bit tender. Over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, are frequently sufficient to alleviate any post-root canal discomfort.

If you are experiencing symptoms of pulp problems and would like to have your tooth assessed, contact Posada Dental to schedule an appointment.


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