Often times when people hear the term “root canal,” they wince. While needing a root canal isn’t ideal, it often is not as bad as most people think. In certain circumstances, performing a root canal may be the only way to save your tooth from being surgically extracted. In order to get past any hesitations you may have about getting root canal therapy, it is important to first understand what it is, what it treats and what the process is like.

What Is Root Canal Therapy?

Essentially, root canals are a procedure that treat situations that involve fixing cavities or cracks in teeth that are so bad that they affect the pulp or nerve of a tooth. The pulp is a collection of blood vessels and nerve tissue that can get infected when a tooth is cracked or populated from the bacteria of a cavity. Once the pulp tissue gets infected, you may develop an abscess. If this infection isn’t treated, over time it can lead to swelling, pain, injury to your jawbones and even issues with your overall health!

What Are the Reasons for Root Canals?

There are a few different reasons that people may need root canals, all of which can lead to severe infection if untreated. These include:

  • A Dead or Necrotic Nerve
  • Infection or Abscess
  • Tooth Fractures
  • Tooth Trauma
  • Significant Tooth Decay

These all lead to diseased tooth pulp, and need to be taken care of immediately to avoid the development or progression of an infection.

How Do I Know If I Need a Root Canal?

Generally speaking the indications that you need root canal therapy will be incredibly obvious, as you may have a spontaneous toothache or swelling; however, sometimes a patient is unaware that they have an underlying infection and do not realize they need a root canal until x-rays and clinical examination by a dentist.

Some of the more apparent symptoms may include:

  • Pain while trying to chew.
  • Pain with exposure to heat or cold.
  • A change in the color of the tooth (often gray).
  • An extreme toothache.
  • Pain while pressure is applied to the tooth.
  • Swelling of nearby gums.

If any of these issues occur, you should see your dentist for a consultation.

Are Root Canals Painful?

One of the biggest fears that patients have about root canals is that they may be extremely painful. Actually, many people will actively ignore the issues they are having simply to avoid having a root canal completed.

Ironically, this generally leads to more pain, not less. The actual pain that you are feeling is the infection and inflammation from the diseased nerve. These symptoms will continue to persist until the tooth is treated. With adequate local anesthesia, root canal therapy can be performed with minimal, if any, discomfort. Also keep in mind that—without proper treatment—your root canal can lead to other health problems and potential damage to your tooth, bone, and possibly adjacent teeth.

Interested in Learning More about Root Canal Therapy?

Contact West Mobile Dental Care Today at (251) 666-3600 or through our contact form.

What Is the Process of Getting a Root Canal?

The process of getting a root canal involves multiple steps. It all starts with visiting your dentist for a consultation to determine what is the source of your pain or swelling. Once they decide that root canal therapy is necessary, they will begin a process that may take one to three treatments.

Before your treatment begins, your dentist will provide local anesthesia to make sure that you don’t feel any pain. They may also suggest to use nitrous oxide. Initially, your dentist will remove any injured or affected pulp inside of the root, then clean the inside of the tooth. Once that is complete, they will fill in the canal space within the root with a biocompatible material and seal it to ensure that there is no further infection.

Once the procedure is complete, you may have the option of placing a crown over the tooth to ensure its long term protection.

What Is the Recovery Process for a Root Canal?

Generally there isn’t any particular recovery procedure for a root canal—it should heal up fine on its own. Still, if you notice any pain, swelling, discomfort or pressure that lasts for more than a couple of days, you’ll want to contact your dentist to make sure the area isn’t infected.

How Can I Avoid a Root Canal?

In order to avoid a root canal, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth, flossing, using mouthwash and visiting your dentist regularly for cleanings. Good oral hygiene also involves making an appointment with the dentist if you suspect anything is wrong with your oral health.

If you notice pain, pressure, discoloration or decay of any kind, make sure you set an appointment with your dentist. The sooner you address the underlying issue (whether it’s diseased pulp tissue or not) the easier it will be to repair.

Keep your smile vibrant and your mouth pain-free by treating any pulp tissue infections with root canal therapy.

West Mobile Dental Care is conveniently located in Mobile, AL but proudly services Daphne, Prichard, Montrose, Fairhope, Tillman’s Corner and other neighboring communities.