Do you have a severe toothache? Chances are that your tooth is decayed or infected. When bacteria have infected the tooth’s pulp (the innermost chamber of the tooth that hosts the tooth’s blood vessels, tissues, and nerves), your dentist might recommend root canal therapy.
A root canal treatment might seem intimidating, invasive, painful, and lengthy. However, a root canal is less invasive, safe, straightforward, and minimally painful. This article highlights all you need to know about root canals and what to expect during treatment.
What is a root canal?
Root canal therapy or treatment is an endodontic procedure used to treat a severely decayed or infected tooth. It helps to remove the infected or decayed tissues from the tooth, stopping further decay and saving your tooth. Visit a dentist near you at Weymouth Dental Associates for root canal treatment.
Signs of a Root Canal
The only sure way to know whether you need a root canal is to schedule a dentist consultation at Weymouth Dental Associates. However, there are several warning signs to watch out for, including:
- Persistent tooth pain
- Tooth sensitivity to heat, cold, or sugar
- Tooth discoloration
- Swollen, sore, or sensitive gums
- Painful pus-filled pimples or bumps on the gums
- Loose teeth
If you are experiencing these symptoms, contact our best root canal dentist in Weymouth, MA, for a consultation. Waiting without treatment only worsens the condition and increases the chance of losing your tooth.
What to Expect During a Root Canal
A root canal is a relatively quick and outpatient procedure. The process often involves the following steps:
- X-rays: The dentist will take x-rays of your tooth to determine the extent of damage, the shape of the root canals, and other details to know how to treat you the best.
- Local anesthesia: The dentist will then numb the area around the tooth to prevent pain and discomfort during the procedure.
- Isolating the tooth: The dentist will place a rubber sheet around it to keep it isolated and dry during the procedure.
- Removing the infection: The dentist will drill through the tooth to access the infected pulp. Then, the dentist uses a series of dental files to remove the infected tissues and bacteria from the tooth and root canals. Next, the dentist rinses and disinfects the tooth.
- Filling the root canals: The dentist will shape them and insert a rubber-like material.
- Sealing the tooth: The dentist places a temporary filling material to seal the hole left to prevent bacteria from re-entering.
- Final restoration: If necessary, the dentist can recommend placing a crown on the tooth to improve its strength and stability and prevent fractures and infections.
How long does a root canal take?
Based on the complexity of the canals and the amount of damage, root canal therapy often takes about 30 – 60 minutes. Sometimes you can spread out the treatment into two appointments. Your dentist should be able to give you a general estimate of how long your root canal will take. Our office offers root canals near you.
What to expect after a root canal?
After the root canal, it’s possible to experience minor discomfort or soreness around the tooth treated. However, the symptoms should fade away in a few days. Below are a few tips to promote faster recovery after a root canal:
- Rest. Proper rest allows your body to heal and recover quickly and enables you to get back to your normal routine in no time. Keep your head elevated on a soft pillow when sleeping.
- Wait until the anesthesia wears off to eat. Don’t be tempted to eat right away after the treatment. Wait until all the numbness is gone to prevent hurting or injuring yourself.
- Gargle warm salt water. Rinsing with warm salt water can help clean out debris and prevent infections after a root canal.
- Use cold therapy. Placing a cold compress on the cheek against the infected tooth can help minimize pain and swelling.
- Eat soft and cool foods. Once you resume eating, opt for cool and soft foods like scrambled eggs, fish, mashed potatoes, soups, yogurt, and soft vegetables and fruits. Avoid hard, sticky, acidic, spicy, and chewy foods until you feel better.
- Take medication as prescribed. Take medicines as directed by your dentist. If there is no prescription, you can use over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen.
Are you interested in root canals in Weymouth, MA?
Is your tooth infected and needs a root canal? Or would you like to learn more about root canals and other endodontic treatments? Contact Weymouth Dental Associates for more information.