Root canal therapy is used to treat a damaged or infected tooth, and will relieve the pain or discomfort you are feeling. Root canals have a bad reputation for being painful, when often it is the infection of the pulp that is painful, not the root canal therapy itself. If you have infected or inflamed pulp, a root canal is the only way to save your natural tooth to prevent the infection from spreading further. If you are feeling any pain or discomfort in your teeth, don’t wait! It’s important to call our office as soon as possible to treat the problem when it first develops, rather than when it snowballs into something bigger.
It may help to first understand the anatomy of the tooth to fully appreciate the benefits of root canal therapy. Inside our tooth, below the white enamel and hard layer of dentin, there is a soft tissue called the pulp, which contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. This pulp helps nourish the root and helps the tooth during development, and once fully developed, a tooth can survive without the pulp since the surrounding tissue nourishes the tooth.
When the pulp of the tooth becomes infected or inflamed, it can lead to infection caused by deep decay, repeated dental procedures, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth. Trauma to your tooth can also cause infection, and if left untreated will lead to pain or an abscess. Not something you want to mess around with!
Root canal therapy removes the inflamed or infected part of the pulp, then the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Once the tooth is cleared of all the infection, it will be filled and sealed to prevent any bacteria from seeping in. The tooth can then either be restored with a filling or a porcelain crown. Restoring the tooth will return it to its original functionality, and it will feel just like your normal tooth again. The few weeks following root canal therapy, you may feel some sensitivity, but this will diminish over time.
Modern root canal treatment is a simple procedure and is similar to having a filling, as it can be completed in just one or two appointments.
You may be unsure whether or not you have a tooth infection and need root canal therapy. We’ve listed some of the most common symptoms that indicate a root canal infection. However, we won’t know for sure if you need a root canal until we can examine your tooth.
When it comes to your root canal procedure, you have nothing to worry about. We thoroughly numb the area around your tooth and even offer relaxing sedation options to help anxious patients feel comfortable. Root canal therapy doesn’t hurt; it actually alleviates the tooth pain you’re experiencing from the infection. Before your treatment, let us know if you need any accommodations. Our goal is to make this procedure as stress-free as possible for you.
After your root canal procedure, we’ll send you home with a set of aftercare guidelines to ensure you have a smooth recovery. As the numbing medication begins to wear off you may feel some tenderness in the area. Don’t worry, these temporary symptoms are normal and can usually be treated with over-the-counter pain medications. If you experience any severe pain or swelling after your procedure, please call us immediately so we can get you into our office as soon as possible.
For the first few days your go-to root canal recovery food should be soft foods that require a minimal amount of chewing, such as bananas, warm (not hot) soup, eggs, pudding, and yogurt. We recommend that you avoid extremely hot or cold foods and drinks because they can irritate your tooth. If you have any questions or about your root canal post op recovery, please contact our office.