All About Root Canals
You may have a bad pain in your mouth or your dentist may have seen something during an exam and says the words that you hoped you never heard – root canal. But that anxiety is actually a misplaced one.
Why? Here’s one important fact to remember – this is a very common procedure. Over 15 million of them are done each year and 95% of them are done without even any complications. Also, things have changed in the decades since your relative had one and they may have put their misplaced fears upon you.
So… just relax and learn all about root canals.
Before the Procedure
There are a variety of ways that you may find that you need a root canal. You may have had that aforementioned painful tooth. It may be sensitive to hot and cold. A tooth may be cracked. But pain is not the only indicator that your tooth may be in trouble or dead – your dentist can find it with the stick test. That’s when they probe your mouth with a pointed instrument and if a tooth doesn’t react right, they know that it needs a root canal.
Of course, they also need to verify with things like X-rays to confirm that the pulp of your tooth has become inflamed or infected. This happens because of decay. The dentist or even an endodontist will have to drill into the tooth and remove the pulp and then the tooth will be cleaned and filled with material called gutta-percha.
The root canal is straightforward. The dentist will give you anesthetic to fully numb the area of your mouth that is being worked on. People who have had them say that it feels no worse than having a filling done. One of the main goals of the root canal is to save the natural tooth so that you can get back to eating, talking and smiling before you know it.
It used to be that the whole thing had to be spaced out over a period of time, but now they can be done in as little as one or two appointments. The only thing that might take extra visits is the replacement crown, since the dentist wants to make sure that it is fitted properly and is stable. This is not the part for them to try any shortcuts, since that will reduce the long-term viability of the crown.
After The Procedure
Most of the time, people can go back to work pretty soon after a root canal, but you should not eat until all the numbness from the anesthetic is gone. You may feel mild pain for a few days afterwards, but it should fade after that. If it still hurts, go back to the dentist to see if the canal was fully cleaned out or if you need another procedure done. You can take over-the-counter painkillers like Tylenol or Advil. Don’t chew on any hard foods right after the procedure.
Even though the tooth that is being protected by the crown is dead, be very vigilant about any lingering pain or any possible looseness with the crown. Watch what you eat – the crown is sturdy, but it’s not strong enough to withstand things like biting down hard on items like ice cubes. They can crack… and have you wind up being back at the dentist’s office for a brand new crown.
Do not hesitate to seek attention if something feels wrong. Trying to gut through anything can lead to a possible infection, which can wind up damaging or loosening other teeth in the surrounding area. The faster you see the dentist, the faster things can wind up being fixed. Otherwise you risk having to pay a lot more money for something that could be prevented.
One thing that gave root canals a bad name in the past is that people tended to be remembering the pain they were in before the actual procedure than what happened afterward. It is actually a very treatment that will have you feeling a lot better afterward.
That is because dental technology has made a lot of leaps forward in a relatively short amount of time. The root canal, which used to be a source of dread is now a very routine procedure thanks to both the anesthetic and the equipment used. You will now spend a lot less time in the dental chair and more time out and about with a brand-new crown protecting your tooth.
Dr. Krupali Shah will use her dental skills to make verything you need to know sure that the root canal goes as smoothly as possible. If you have any questions, you can always call before your appointment – 516-822-6659. The staff at Bethpage Smiles will gladly answer them and make sure that you are at ease before you have the procedure. If you live in or near Hicksville, NY, contact us today!
Bethpage Smiles Family Dental – Dr. Krupali Shah
120 Bethpage Rd suite 310,
Hicksville, NY 11801
Phone: (516) 822-6659