The words “root canal” most likely fill the majority of people with dread. After all, many people put off recommended root canals for as long as possible. They assume that the treatment is going to be painful both for their mouths and their wallets. You may be surprised to learn that a root canal does not have to have this negative side. Instead, when you work with an experienced root canal dentist and discover the many benefits to having this treatment, you can find real peace of mind in caring for your oral health this way.
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal is the common name for endodontic therapy. Root canal treatment is designed to eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal, prevent reinfection of the tooth and save the natural tooth. It targets the tooth’s pulp and root to cleanse them and keep them free from future infection. The term “root canal” refers to the innermost portion of the tooth where the blood vessels, nerves and other tissues are located below the gum line. To get to these tissues for treatment, the dentist must thoroughly numb the surrounding tissues before drilling through the crown of the tooth. When one undergoes a root canal, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed.
Who Needs a Root Canal?
A root canal is often a last-ditch effort to save a tooth. Teeth that cannot be saved with root canals must either be pulled and replaced with a bridge or dental implant. However, it is always far better to save your own natural tooth than it is to opt for a bridge or implant. Your own tooth will look most natural, and the cost savings from a root canal is actually far superior to these other treatments.
There are several circumstances when your dentist may recommend root canal treatment. First, you may need this treatment if you have an abscessed or infected tooth. Second, unrelenting tooth sensitivity or pain, swollen gums or a suddenly loose tooth may prove that you need a root canal.
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Don’t let a tooth ache turn into an extraction. Root Canal Therapy can save your tooth!
What Happens During Root Canal Treatment?
Today, a root canal is not nearly as scary or as painful as you may have imagined. Your dentist will use local anesthesia to numb the area thoroughly. You should not feel anything other than pressure at the area throughout the treatment. It’s very similar to a routine filling and can usually be completed in one or two appointments, depending on the condition of the tooth. Getting a root canal is relatively painless and extremely effective; however, it does take time to perform.
After the area has been anesthetized and you are completely relaxed, your dentist will place a protective sheet called a “dental dam” around your tooth to isolate the area and keep it clean and dry during the procedure. The dentist will make an opening in the crown of the tooth and small instruments are used to gain access to the infected area of the tooth to remove the infected tissues. He will also use a special solution to flush out the root canals thoroughly. Once he is sure that all of the infected tissues have been removed and the canal space is cleaned and shaped, he will fill and seal the root canal. The dentist fills the root canal with a biocompatible material, usually a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. The gutta-percha is placed with an adhesive cement to ensure complete sealing of the root canals. In some instances, he may instead choose to fill the tooth with a special medication to treat the infection further before sealing the tooth at a later appointment. Finally, you may need a crown to cover your tooth to protect and restore it to full function. If the tooth lacks sufficient structure to hold the restoration in place, your dentist may place a post inside the tooth.
What Is Recovery Like Following a Root Canal?
You will probably have some sensitivity and soreness around the affected tooth for several days after the procedure. However, this should be adequately controlled with an over-the-counter pain reliever. Although you may want to take the rest of the day off to relax, you should be able to return to work by the next day. Once your tooth is fully restored, you should care for it just as you do your natural teeth. You’ll be back to smiling, biting, and chewing with ease in no time.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Root Canal?
Once you can get over your fear of a root canal, you will be able to see the many benefits of this proven procedure. As mentioned, this treatment is quite cost-effective when compared with tooth extractions, dental implants and similar options. Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many other advantages besides cost. Because you will keep your own tooth, you will still have a cosmetically pleasing smile. You will also have efficient chewing and normal biting force and sensation. Finally, today’s techniques let you have a root canal with hardly any discomfort.
Where Can I Find a Trusted Root Canal Dentist?
As you can imagine, it is imperative that you find a respected dentist with plenty of experience in providing root canals so that your experience can be as positive as possible. When you choose Dr. Tuan Pham in Redlands, CA, you can rest assured that you are working with the best practitioner in the area. For a root canal to be done correctly, it must be completed carefully and accurately so that all of the infected tissues are removed. Dr. Pham will work closely with you to ensure that you are comfortable throughout the appointment and that your tooth is expertly restored. Contact us today to learn more.