Never once has someone said the words “I need a root canal” with a huge smile on their face. It’s almost physically impossible to be excited about this procedure, except if you get a day off work out of it.
To help take the fear out of a root canal we’re going to let you know what it is, how to determine if you need one, and what getting one looks and feels like. SPOILER: It’s not that bad.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is both something that is actually in the tooth and a procedure. There is an inner passage of the tooth that has a pulp that sits between the root and the tooth, that is the root canal.
When the internal material of the tooth becomes infected, that’s when you need a root canal. The nerve is being affected by the infection of the pulp which causes the pain, so you need to get that stuff out!
What Causes a Root Canal?
If you have tooth decay it can penetrate the layers of the tooth and the decay infects the inside of the tooth. Regular check-ups, and brushing and flossing twice a day will help prevent the decay, but you knew we were going to say that, didn’t you?
Dr. Tera Groff, our General Dentist at Otter Point Dental has some valuable suggestions when it comes to taking care of damage to you teeth:
“Don’t ignore chips or cracks in your tooth! Remember, teeth are not solid, they have a whole wonderland of biology going on inside. We can confirm that being proactive about these types of issues can save you a lot of pain and money.”
The bottom line of all of this is that if you’ve had tooth trauma, severe decay or chips and cracks, this may lead to you needing a root canal.
Do You Need a Root Canal?
Tooth pain can mean a lot of different things but if you are experiencing any of the below symptoms, you should probably think about giving us a call:
- Localized pressure or serious teeth pain in a specific area
- Sensitivity to hot or cold that continues after the stimulus has been removed
- Small bump that resembles a pimple on the gums or near the area of the teeth pain
- Tenderness or swelling at the gum line near the area of the teeth pain
- Darkening of the tooth
The Procedure and Treatment Steps
A root canal has a few steps to resolve the infection:
- We will give you an X-Ray to diagnose that there is, in fact, a need for a root canal.
- We’ll numb your mouth so you don’t feel the procedure. We have options that go beyond just local anesthetic if you’re nervous. Ask us about what we can do to make you more comfortable before you get in the chair.
- You’ll get a dental dam so the dentist can focus all his attention on your tooth, and then they will drill in, remove the pulp and/or nerve and put a crown on (not the kind you want or deserve) to protect it.
- There are methods other than a crown that your dentist may use, whether it’s a temporary filling or leaving it open until the residual material drains completely. If you want to know what your particular procedure looks like, just ask!
Root Canal Aftercare
Root canals have a 95% success rate but it will be up to you to make sure your oral health succeeds! BRUSH, FLOSS, and REGULAR CHECK-UPS! #BFRC
You may experience a bit of pain and sensitivity so a soft toothbrush and sensitivity toothpaste will help alleviate the discomfort.
See, that’s not so scary! If you are experiencing pain and you are still scared to find out what it is, call us. Leaving it, ignoring it, hoping it just goes away, or starting a new aggressive oral health care routine is not the answer. We have the answers and you can be sure that patient care and comfort are our number one priority.