A root canal sounds like a scary procedure. Because of television and movies, we think that a root canal is the worst thing that can happen at the dentist. As a result, we can become anxious or afraid if our dentist says we need a root canal. Fear not! Thanks to new techniques and better equipment, root canals are no worse than many other dental procedures, including dental fillings.
When we think of a root canal, we may only consider the pain that it may cause. However, the pain is no worse than a simple filling. Part of the problem is that people know that there is pain associated with a root canal. Unfortunately, this can make it worse than it really is. In fact, studies suggest that knowing the process of the procedure and how to address recovery can reduce pain and anxiety.
Knowing is half the battle; the other half is preparation for your recovery.
What Happens In A Root Canal?
If you need a root canal, it is likely that you have an infection within your tooth. In other words, the pulp within your tooth has decay that will cause your tooth to deteriorate. Therefore, your dentist must perform a root canal in order to save your tooth. Without it, you may need a tooth extraction.
To begin, your dentist will take x-rays of your mouth to get a full picture of the decay. It is likely that the decay is worse than how it looks on the surface. Also, this allows your dental team to form a plan for your root canal treatment.
Next, your dentist will ensure that you cannot feel any pain during the procedure. They do this by administering local anesthesia to numb the area completely. If it is necessary, your dentist may also offer you sedation options, especially if you have high levels of anxiety concerning the treatment.
Then, your dentist will make a hole at the top of your tooth to access the infected pulp. They will remove all of the infected pulp—tissues, nerves, and blood vessels. It is vital that they thoroughly clean the tooth to prevent further infection.
Also, your dentist will need to fill your tooth in order to provide structure and stability. Afterward, your dentist will place a temporary filling or dental crown to protect your tooth. You will return to the office for your permanent dental crown once it is completed.
After your root canal, it is important to take it easy. There is a lot of drilling that goes on during your treatment, so it is likely that you will be sore. Taking it easy and resting can help speed up your recovery process.
Additionally, you can take most over-the-counter pain medications to help with any discomfort or swelling you have. It might also help to ice your face after your root canal. This can minimize the pain and swelling.
Finally, be sure to continue your regular oral health care routine. It is vital to ensure minimal harmful bacteria growth.