While we understand you might be feeling a little uncertain if you need a root canal, don’t be! Root canals have long been a feared dental procedure, but they really are not as bad as most people think. A root canal provides the chance to treat a damaged tooth, can save your smile, and is a treatment that needn’t cause you discomfort. Let’s explore what the fuss is all about!
What Is A Root Canal?
The outer layer of the tooth, called enamel, protects several other layers of soft tissue, pulp, nerve, and tooth root, inside each of our teeth. For several possible reasons, sometimes this soft tissue gets inflamed causing damage to the inner tooth pulp.
When a tooth’s pulp is infected, it can create an abscess, which causes further pain and discomfort. However, other times there is damage to the soft tissue of a tooth and there is no pain at all. A root canal allows the infection to be cleaned up and removed, which relieves pain and creates a healthier tooth and improves oral health.
Signs a Root Canal is Needed
Several causes can lead to infection of the inside of a tooth. Teeth that are decayed, where the decay has eroded the enamel, can cause root canal pain. Similarly, cracks and chips, like decay, can allow bacteria to get inside a tooth and lead to infection and discomfort. Trauma or damage to a tooth can create pulp damage, even if the tooth is not cracked and no pain is felt.
Signs you may need a root canal include:
- Teeth pain when you are eating or putting pressure on the area around the infected tooth
- Teeth sensitivity to hot or cold that remains even after the cold or hot stimuli has been removed
- A small bump on the gum area near the location of tooth pain
- Tenderness or swelling of the gums near the site of tooth pain
- Darkening or gray color to a tooth
What Does the Root Canal Procedure Look Like?
Root canals usually take several steps to remedy at the dentist office. The infected pulp will be removed, sometimes the nerve itself, and the tooth will then be filled and repaired.
The procedure typically starts with a digital X-ray to see the extent of the problem. The damaged tooth will be drilled to create a hole and special tools are used to remove the decay. Next, we fill the tooth with a temporary filling and sometimes even place a temporary crown if it’s needed.
The next dental visit will be when the permanent filling and/or crown is ready. All temporary filling is removed, and the tooth is permanently filled and sealed. The crown, or chosen tooth restoration, is placed and the process is complete. Often you can resume normal eating and drink within a few hours of having a root canal treatment!
Does a Root Canal Hurt?
We always aim to offer options to avoid any pain or discomfort during a root canal! A local anesthetic is used to numb the treatment site and prevent pain during treatment. You may experience some tooth sensitivity after the treatment is finished, but this is typically minor and can be remedied with an over-the-counter mild painkiller. More often than not, you will feel much better after a root canal than you did before!
If you are experiencing discomfort of a tooth or have other symptoms that may indicate a root canal is needed, contact us! We are your Thornton, CO experts in the careful treatment of teeth so you will be feeling great again in no time!