Root Canals: Root Canal 101

NO ONE would EVER volunteer for a root canal.  But, sometimes you have to have one.  You might be scheduled to have one as you’re reading this blog post.  Well here’s the good news!  The procedure is generally relatively quick and will include some discomfort.  The discomfort is worth it thought!  A root canal can provide a lot of relief from pain caused by some dental problems.

The Cause of a Root Canal

The root canal is a part of your tooth.  It’s an interior chamber that connects the crown of the tooth with your gums. Sometimes the pulp inside this chamber gets infected or inflamed and needs to be replaced, and it’s this procedure that is commonly call a root canal.
Root canals are necessitated by lots of causes. Sometimes the tissue will get infected after a routine dental procedure or because of injury to the tooth, like chipping or cracking. You may notice no symptoms before your dentist discovers the problem, or you may experience discomfort in the form of pain, swelling and sensitivity to hot and cold.

What to Expect

Some general dentists perform root canals, but typically you’ll be sent to an endodontist, or dentist who specializes in tooth pulp. The entire process typically takes no more than two hours per tooth and is often much shorter than that.
On the day of the procedure, your mouth will be X-rayed, and you’ll be given local anesthesia to numb the area. The endodontist will create a small opening in the crown of the tooth. He will then use very small tools to clean out the damaged pulp and to clean and shape the empty roots. Then he’ll fill the space with a rubbery material called gutta-percha and cover the tooth with a temporary filling.
Many patients report feeling no pain from a root canal procedure. You’ll probably even be able to drive yourself home after.

After a Root Canal

Although a root canal is a very common and straightforward process, not all cases are the same, so the dentist who does your root canal should give you specific aftercare instructions.
You may have some pain or sensitivity in your mouth after the numbness wears off, and the dentist may tell you not to chew with the repaired tooth for a period of time. You may need to return to the dentist within a few weeks to have a permanent crown applied. This covering protects the tooth from further damage and infection, which will hopefully prevent the need for further dental procedures.
And that’s it! It’s natural to have some dread about dental procedures — after all, some do cause pain and affect your ability to eat and talk — but a root canal is nothing to fear.
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