Root canal. This phrase can evoke a lot of emotions—perhaps more than any other dental terminology can. But knowledge is power, so let’s take a look at what necessitates a root canal treatment, how the procedure is performed, and what you can expect if a root canal is in your future.
Do I Need A Root Canal?
Whenever you have an infection, your body defends itself by sending white blood cells and antibodies to the infected area. Swelling usually occurs, which indicates that healing is underway.
Inside your tooth, however, where the infected space is confined, these defenses, unfortunately, do not work. In an attempt to swell, the tissue (or pulp) in your tooth ends up choking itself and dying. At that point, the pain may go away, and you may think that the problem has been solved. But in reality, the infection has just begun to take up residence in the bone, causing an abscess.
Not all types of tooth pain are indications for a root canal. But signs of infection severe enough to require a root canal include:
- Serious pain when eating or putting pressure on the area
- Pain and sensitivity to hot or cold that lingers after the stimulus has been removed
- Tenderness or swelling in the gums near the painful area
- Darkening of the tooth
A root canal might also be necessary if your tooth has been badly chipped or cracked, exposing the nerves under the tooth’s surface to infection.
How Are Root Canals Performed?
In a root canal treatment, the decay and the infected pulp is thoroughly cleaned out. If the tissue inside the tooth is dead, you could theoretically do the treatment without any novocain. But Dr. Farber likes to make the tooth numb anyway, just to be sure that it is comfortable. Then the entire inside of the tooth is filled with a root canal sealer material.
Here at Contemporary & Esthetic Dentistry, we use rotary endodontic technology in place of the manual, stainless steel instruments you might normally associate with root canals. Dr. Farber prefers electric rotary tools because they are more precise, and they provide a quieter, faster, more comfortable experience for the patient.
While all of this takes care of the infection, the structure of the tooth may be weakened and Dr. Farber may recommend the placement of a crown to prevent breakage.
What Is Recovery Like?
You may feel some tenderness to biting on the tooth afterward. This is normal and can be reduced with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like Advil.
If you have severe tooth pain or suspect that you have an infected tooth, it is best to come in. Please note that an abscessed tooth will not simply “go away” on its own. It can turn into something more serious, and even deadly, like sepsis. For any of these concerns, you can call our office for an appointment or request an appointment here, and we’ll call you.