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Root Canals

What is a root canal

When most people think of a root canal, they cringe. The thought of having surgery on their teeth is not a welcome one. However, root canals are a necessary procedure in some cases. This post will discuss everything you need to know about root canals, including what they are, how they are performed, and the benefits of getting one. We hope this information will help ease any fears you may have about this procedure and that you will feel confident in deciding to get a root canal that is necessary for your dental health.

A group of people sitting in a dentist's office.

What is a root canal, and what does it do?

A root canal (also known as an endodontic treatment) is a dental procedure used to save a tooth that is infected or damaged. The procedure involves removing the damaged pulp from the tooth, cleaning and disinfecting the inside of the tooth, and then filling and sealing the tooth.

Contrary to old sayings, a root canal does not cause pain- it relieves it! Here are some of its advantages:

  • Eliminates the pain caused by an infected tooth.
  • Prevents further damage to the tooth.
  • Strengthens the tooth so normal biting and chewing can resume.
  • It preserves the tooth, so it does not have to be removed.
  • Prevents jawbone deterioration and gum disease.
  • Allows you to keep your natural smile!

A root canal can be done in one or two visits to the dentist, and it usually takes about an hour to complete. Root canals are generally successful, and they can help preserve your natural teeth. In some cases, a tooth with a root canal may need to be fitted with a crown to protect it from further damage.

What are the most common symptoms of needing a root canal?

One of the most common symptoms of needing a root canal is severe tooth pain that is not alleviated by over-the-counter pain medications.

The pain may be constant or only occur when pressure is applied to the tooth, such as biting down. Other common symptoms may include the following:

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures.
  • Tooth discoloration.
  • Swollen and tender gums.
  • A small bump on the gum line.
  • Loose tooth
  • Pain when chewing.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is imperative to see a dentist as soon as possible for an evaluation. Without treatment, a root canal infection can spread to other teeth leading to serious health complications.

A group of people sitting in a dentist's office.

How is a root canal performed, and what can you expect afterward?

A root canal is a procedure performed when the tooth’s nerve becomes infected. The purpose of the procedure is to remove the nerve and bacteria from the tooth so that the infection does not spread.

The first step of the procedure is to take an x-ray to determine the root canal’s shape and see signs of infection. Local anesthesia is administered to numb the area and keep you comfortable during the procedure. Next, a small hole is made in the tooth to remove the nerve and bacteria.

Once the nerve and bacteria are removed, the hole is sealed. Finally, a crown or filling called gutta-percha is placed on the tooth to protect it from further damage.

After a root canal, you can expect your tooth to feel sensitive for a few days. You may also experience some swelling and bruising. However, these symptoms should resolve within a week or two.

What are the risks associated with root canals, and how can you minimize them?

Root canals are a common dental procedure, but they are not without risks. The most common complication is inflammation of the tissue around the tooth, leading to pain, swelling, and discomfort.

The inflammation can spread to the jawbone and cause an infection in rare cases. Another risk is damage to the nerves in the tooth, resulting in numbness, tingling, or pain.

Finally, there is a small risk of developing an abscess at the root canal site. To minimize the risks associated with root canals, following your dentist’s instructions carefully and practicing good oral hygiene are essential. You should also see your dentist for regular checkups to ensure that the root canal is healing correctly.

A woman is getting her teeth cleaned by a dentist.

Are there any other options available if I don’t want a root canal done?

If a tooth is damaged or decayed to the point where the nerve is affected, a root canal procedure may be recommended to save the tooth. However, a few other options may be available, depending on the extent of the damage. These options include:

This is the most common alternative to a root canal. In this procedure, the tooth is removed, and an artificial replacement can be placed.

This is a dental appliance used to replace one or more missing teeth. A bridge is typically made of artificial teeth attached to surrounding teeth.

This is a surgical procedure in which an artificial tooth is placed in the jawbone.

Each option has its risks and benefits, so it is important to discuss all of your options with your dentist before deciding.

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