What to Know About Root Canals
No one likes to hear they need a root canal. In the past, this was a process to be avoided at any cost. But with today’s procedures, it is no longer a painful procedure. Keep these information points in mind when considering a root canal.
When Do You Need a Root Canal?
In some ways, the need for a root canal is a natural process. There is pulp tissue inside of your tooth that is needed for tooth development and growth. As we age, this pulp is no longer needed and will die off. Often during this process infection will set in and a root canal is needed to remove the pulp.
Root Canal Procedure
A root canal is no more painful than having a cavity filled. The procedure may take a little longer than a normal filling, but the amount of pain should be almost nothing. Just as with a filling, you will be given a local anesthetic that will numb the tooth and the surrounding area. The discomfort from the shot should be the worst you experience.
Your pain may temporarily stop. It is possible to experience intense pain for several days and then have a relatively pain free day. This does not mean the problem has gone away. The pain you are feeling is the infection and dying of the pulp. As the pulp dies, the pain may lessen. But other problems begin. You may experience facial swelling. There may be oozing from the infected area. The problem will not ‘heal itself’. You must contact a dentist or endodontist.
Antibiotics will not help. Antibiotics are great at fighting infections, but they travel through the bloodstream to reach the infected area. The site of the decayed pulp is located inside your tooth where the bloodstream does not reach. After a root canal, it is likely your dentist will prescribe an antibiotic but this is not for the work done in the root. Most likely it is a precaution for any damage which may have been done to the surrounding tissue.
After Your Root Canal Treatment
After a root canal, it is still possible to get cavities in that tooth. Proper dental hygiene is needed to maintain the health of the tooth after the root canal. A tooth that had a root canal can be expected to last just as long as other teeth. If you elected to have a crown put on your tooth, you can expect the crown to last up to 15 years. Contact your local dentist if you have more questions.