According to our patients, the two words they definitely don’t want to hear at the dentist’s office are "root canal." At Singing River Dentistry, we understand the prospect of getting a root canal, it can sound scary, and its depictions in popular media don’t help the perception.
It’s important to understand that root canals are common procedures that don’t have to involve a lot of pain. According to an American Dental Association survey, more than 15 million root canal treatments are performed annually. We can assure you that any discomfort you may feel during a root canal procedure is better than dealing with a completely decayed tooth that is preventing you from doing simple daily tasks like eating.
The Root Canal Procedure
Getting a root canal isn’t completely different than getting a filling. To start, the dentist will examine the area and get you started on a local anesthetic to make sure your mouth is numb. We won’t start work until you are comfortable with the level of numbness in your mouth, and if during the procedure you feel the anesthetic wearing off, just let us know.
Once you are numb, the dentist will make sure the root canal area is clean and then use a variety of specialized tools to remove the nerve and surrounding tissue from the inside of your tooth. When a tooth becomes badly decayed, the nerve and surrounding tissue become extremely susceptible to further infection and must be removed.
As the nerve and surrounding tissue are removed, the inside of the tooth will be cleaned out to remove any remaining bacteria or decay. Depending on the severity of the decay, the dentist may be able to seal up your tooth and finish the procedure on the same day, or he/she may have you come back in a couple of weeks to further disinfect the root canal area of your tooth.
If you are asked to come back for a second appointment, a temporary seal will be placed on your tooth that will last until the next visit.
Following the root canal procedure, you will need some sort of dental restoration, typically either a filling or crown. The dentist will speak to you about which option to choose.
After the Root Canal
It is important to reduce the stress on your teeth in the days and weeks following a root canal procedure. It is especially important to avoid using the side of the mouth where the root canal occurred until the permanent dental restoration like a crown is implanted.
Eating soft foods and avoiding extremely hot or cold drinks can help you avoid discomfort after a root canal and speed up recovery. You should even take care when you are brushing and flossing your teeth in the area where the root canal occurred, so you don’t disrupt the seal or dental restoration.
Getting a root canal doesn’t have to be scary. We take a lot of pride at Singing River Dentistry in making sure our patients feel comfortable throughout the entire process. Call us today at 256-712-3186 to discuss any questions you may have about getting a root canal.
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