Whether caused by an injury or a severe, untreated cavity, once the center of your tooth (called the pulp) becomes infected, it is extremely painful and you risk losing your tooth. In order to save the tooth and treat the infection, your dentist will probably recommend having a root canal. People are often anxious about having a root canal, but it is actually a quick and easy procedure. In order to alleviate your fears, here is exactly what you can expect if you have to have this procedure.
- The first step when having a root canal will be for your dentist to apply a local anesthesia to the tooth and surrounding area. You will feel a slight pinch, but the pain is very minimal and only lasts a second. Shortly after the injection the area will begin to go numb and you shouldn’t be able to feel anything in your mouth.
- The next step will be for your dentist to drill a small opening in the top part of the infected tooth. Once your dentist has access to the inside of the tooth, she will carefully file away the damaged pulp. Your dentist will use water to rinse out the inside of the tooth and may also use an antimicrobial solution to clear away any remaining bacteria.
- Once the inside of your tooth is completely cleaned out and dried, your dentist will fill the tooth with a tough thermoplastic substance called gutta-percha. Then he will seal the opening in your tooth with a temporary filling.
- In a few weeks, your dentist will put a permanent dental crown on the tooth. A dental crown is a tooth-shaped covering that is cemented over a tooth and is used to restore its shape, size, strength, and appearance. Your dentist will cement the crown (also called a cap) to the tooth so that it won’t come off and it should protect and restore your tooth for years to come.
- Finally, the last step of getting a root canal is to take care of the tooth by practicing good dental hygiene. Make sure you are brushing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes and flossing daily. Your dentist may also want to see you for a follow-up appointment to make sure everything looks good.
Hearing that you have to have a root canal may seem scary, but it’s really not as bad as you may think. In addition, this simple procedure could save your damaged tooth and alleviate your pain or discomfort. If you are experiencing a toothache, we would love to help you. The Cornerstone Family Dentistry team has over 30 years of experience providing root canals for patients, and we will make sure you’re comfortable before, during, and after the procedure. Make an appointment with us today!