Advances in dentistry mean getting a root canal without significant discomfort. Today, very little pain accompanies root canal treatment. You should be able to resume your normal activities after a brief rest.
After a root canal, your tooth may hurt for a few days. Over-the-counter pain medication is usually enough to combat it. If you still have pain a week after your procedure, you should contact your trusted family dentist for help.
About Root Canals
Root canals can save teeth from extraction. A root canal is a procedure that combats bacterial infection deep inside a tooth. These infections can cause severe toothaches and interfere with your life. Sometimes, you will not have any symptoms, and your family dentist will detect your problem during a routine exam.
Root Canal Procedures
To perform a root canal, a dentist first gives the patient local anesthesia. In most cases, patients only need local anesthesia for a root canal. Many offices offer further options for anxious patients. Nervous patients should consult their dentists for help.
The dentist places a dental dam to protect the lips, gums, and tongue. Then they drill into the tooth to access the pulp. They clean out the infected pulp from the tooth's interior and smoothly shape the canals inside.
Sometimes the dentist initially fills the tooth with antibacterial material to take care of any lingering infection. They then seal the tooth. If the dentist needs to use antibacterial material, the root canal will take two appointments to complete. During the second appointment, the dentist replaces it with permanent filling materials and seals the tooth.
The tooth with the new root canal usually receives a crown. The crown protects the remaining natural tooth and creates a seamless smile.
Reasons for Root Canals
In many cases, your family dentist will tell you that you need a root canal. Root canals become necessary in the following circumstances:
- Cracked Teeth: Teeth may crack due to tooth grinding, uneven wear, and dental misalignment.
- Dental Trauma: Frequently, teeth broken in accidents need root canals. Failing to treat dental trauma right away could cause tooth loss.
- Deep Cavities: Untreated tooth decay can reach deep into the pulp, causing infection. This issue means your dentist must address the infection with a root canal.
- Issues With Older Fillings: In some cases, fillings may become compromised, allowing infection to set in. The dentist will need to remove what remains of your old filling and perform a root canal.
Signs That You Need a Root Canal
Here are indications that you should call your dentist and ask about a root canal:
- Discolored Teeth: Teeth with deep infections needing root canals often become discolored.
- Lingering Tooth Sensitivity: If you have noticed that one tooth is susceptible when you eat cold or hot foods, you may need a root canal. Watch for sensitivity that persists for more than a few seconds, as this may indicate a serious issue.
- Swollen Gums or Jaw: Pus may build up under the tooth, making your gums or jaw swell. This issue may look like a pimple or a more significant swelling. See your dentist right away if you have this problem.
Are Root Canals Painful?
Today's advanced anesthesia techniques mean that even the most extensive root canal causes little to no discomfort during the procedure. Patients may report minor jaw discomfort. Root canals take approximately an hour. Holding the mouth open for that long can be tiring.
After you have a root canal, the area around the tooth will be numb for a few hours. The lingering effects of the local anesthetic will keep the worst of the pain away. However, there may be some lingering discomfort.
When the anesthetic wears off, you may need over-the-counter pain medication. In some cases, the dentist will prescribe medication for pain.
Eat softer food for a few days after your root canal. Be sure to brush and floss the tooth as usual to prevent new problems.
Root Canals Should Only Cause Brief Discomfort
A root canal should only hurt for a few days at most. If the area where you had a root canal still hurts after a week, contact your dentist immediately for an appointment.
Contact Us Today
If you believe that you need root canal treatment, we are ready to help you. Call Glassman Dental Care today at 212-787-4860 to set up an appointment.