If you answer yes to any of the following questions, there’s a chance you may need a root canal:
- Do you suffer from serious tooth pain when you eat or put pressure on a certain area of your mouth?
- In your teeth and/or gums, do you have sensitivity to hot or cold that lingers long after the hot or cold food or drink is gone?
- Have you noticed a small bump on your gums near the painful tooth?
- Does the tooth that is experiencing pain appear darker?
- Do you have tenderness or swelling of your gums near the tooth that is in pain?
Let’s discuss what a root canal entails so you know what to expect if your dentist says that you need one.
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure that is done in order to repair and save a tooth that is decayed or infected. During the root canal, your dentist will remove the infected pulp inside your painful tooth, and then the dentist will clean and seal the inside of your tooth.
In most cases, a root canal can be performed in one office visit, which can save you time and spare you unnecessary pain. After your root canal, you will probably need to have your tooth fitted for a crown.
Do I Need a Root Canal?
If tooth pain is interfering with your life, and causing you to not sleep, eat, or function well throughout your day, it could be because you have an infected tooth. An infected tooth is a serious dental issue and should be treated immediately.
Most often, the way to treat a severely decayed or infected tooth is to have a root canal. A root canal can help relieve the pain you’ve been experiencing and also save your tooth from having to be extracted.
Without a root canal, the gum tissue surrounding your tooth can become infected, causing abscesses to form. Infection and abscesses can then lead to even more serious health issues that go beyond your mouth.
An experienced, board-certified dentist can determine whether or not you need a root canal.
What Happens During a Root Canal Procedure
First, the dentist will numb you with a local anesthetic. Once you’re numb, you should not feel any pain. The procedure itself can take a few hours, so it’s a good idea to bring your portable music device and headphones or earbuds to keep you occupied during the surgery.
When the root canal procedure is done, you’ll be asked to come back to the dentist shortly thereafter to get a crown put on the tooth in order to protect it. A crown is a rigid covering that is stronger than enamel, and it therefore preserves the structural integrity of your tooth so that it doesn’t break.
Once the crown is placed on your tooth, the tooth will then work normally again, allowing you to chew on it. Be sure not to chew or bite on that tooth until the crown is placed.
Biting down on the tooth before the crown is in place will leave the tooth vulnerable to fracture. This is why your dentist will have you schedule an appointment for your crown within days of the root canal procedure.
What to Expect After the Procedure
After you’ve had the root canal, you may experience some pain or soreness. If you do have pain, it is usually at its peak about 18-24 hours after the procedure.
For the first few nights after the root canal, try to keep your head elevated while you are sleeping. Your dentist may also prescribe pain medication if you need it.
Family Dentist in Minnesota
Hagerman Dental Care in the Minneapolis–St. Paul area wants to help you get a beautiful, healthy, pain-free smile. To see whether you’re a candidate for a single-visit root canal with Dr. Hagerman, call us today at (651) 646-2392 or use our online form to request an appointment.
We look forward to gaining your trust and being your family’s dental practice for many years to come!