Root canal is a fairly common procedure that dentists perform when a patient has an infected tooth. Thanks to advances in dental technology and anesthesia, a root canal has become a relatively straightforward treatment. Nevertheless, many people still believe they are painful and time consuming. In truth, there is more to fear from having an infected tooth, which can threaten not only your oral health but your general health, too. On the other hand, a root canal in Porter removes the infection and preserves your tooth.
No! To the contrary, a root canal is intended to eliminate the pain of an infected tooth. Your Porter dentist gently administers a local anesthetic to the tooth and surrounding soft tissue. In just a few minutes, the site will be numb and you won’t feel anything during treatment.
Dr. Price will confirm on an X-ray that there is indeed infection inside your tooth. However, the first symptom of an infected tooth is usually severe pain.
At the core of each tooth is the pulp chamber, which has canals that branch off to the root tips. Normally, this area of a tooth is well protected. However, in the case of extensive decay or a deep crack, bacteria can migrate to the chamber. As infection sets in and grows, the pain can be intense to the point of distraction.
Other signs of an infected tooth include:
Once the local anesthesia has had time to take affect, your dentist will begin to remove the infection and the contents of the pulp chamber through a small access hole. The space is then disinfected and filled with gutta-percha, a biocompatible substance that expands to fill the empty chamber. Finally, the tooth is sealed to prevent recontamination, and it is prepared for a dental crown.
For first few days after root canal treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive. This is normal. Try eating softer foods for the first day or two, and as you add solids remember to chew on the other side of your mouth.
Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen is fine, too. Take these as instructed. The dentist may have also prescribed an antibiotic to ensure the infection is completely eliminated. Be sure to take this medication until it is all gone.
A few weeks after your root canal, you’ll return to our office to have a permanent crown placed over the tooth. Made of porcelain, this crown restores your ability to eat your regular diet and will protect the remaining tooth structure.