You may have heard stories from your friends or family about getting a root canal, but unless you’ve experienced one yourself, you might not know exactly what they are. This type of treatment is typically done when decay has either killed a tooth or is likely to do damage to a tooth. By better understanding what to expect during a root canal, you can prepare yourself for your appointment.
Why Would You Need a Root Canal?
A root canal is usually done for two main reasons: irreversible damage to the tooth’s pulp or infection. Damage to the pulp can be caused by a fracture in the tooth or by trauma to the affected area. Infection may be caused by an untreated cavity, as the decay can destroy the dentin and enamel of the tooth until the decay reaches the pulp.
What Happens During the Procedure?
The procedure will start by numbing the gums and then injecting a local anesthetic into the affected area. Nitrous oxide gas may also be used to help you to relax and to reduce your pain. Dr. Coffee will then separate the affected tooth from the others with a sheet of rubber, and this can also help to prevent tooth fragments and fluids from entering your throat.
Next, Dr. Coffee will use tools and a drill to remove the tooth’s pulp. Medicine, a temporary filling material, and a root canal filling will then be placed into the tooth. In many cases, a crown or a permanent filling will then be needed, and a tooth might be temporarily fitted with a crown until a permanent option is made and then cemented into place.
What is the Recovery Process?
After you have a root canal, your gums and lips are likely to be numb for several hours until the anesthetic stops working. You may experience pain after this point in time, and you can use prescription or over the counter pain killers to help you feel more comfortable. This pain usually only lasts for a couple of days, at most.
What are the Risks?
The risks of an infected tooth are greater than the risk of a root canal procedure. This is because bacteria can enter into the bloodstream and result in infections within other areas of the body. Therefore, some patients who have a root canal may need to take antibiotics, especially those who have heart defects or artificial heart valves.
If you are in need of a root canal, feel free to let Dr. Coffee know about any questions or concerns you may have. We want to ensure all of our patients feel at ease.