Root canal treatment usually spells dread to most people, especially when it’s their first time getting one. The truth is, however, it is a fairly simple procedure that most dentists perform more than a couple of times in their practice every day. Here are some of the things you should expect when getting a root canal.
What is it for?
This procedure is performed for the purpose of saving teeth that is badly infected and/or inflamed. The “in-tooth” procedure is done so as to remove the infection and prevent tooth extraction. A lot of people choose to undergo root canal, especially adults since it allows the teeth to stay on and remain healthy for decades to come.
How is it done?
The dentist numbs up the tooth in order to avoid severe pain. At most, you will feel uncomfortable during the entire procedure. A small opening is made through the tooth crown up to the pulp chamber.
All the infected tissue and other debris are sucked out, after which the canals are filled up with material called gutta-percha. Proper irrigation is performed in order to remove all the infection and prevent any recurrence.
Rebuilding the tooth is done by filling the tooth and keeping it filled till a new crown has been placed. A crown looks exactly like a tooth, albeit with color adjustment in order to match the rest of the set.
Putting Extra Support
A post is sometimes necessary in order to ensure that the tooth remains strong and healthy after the root canal treatment.
Once the dentist determines the tooth is ready for its crown, a permanent one is placed and the enamel looks better and is healthier that it is ever been.
Duration of Procedure
Some root canals take longer than others, depending on the severity of the infection and inflammation. The treatment may be completed in just one session or several sessions (a few days apart). You will be provided with specific instructions by your dentist if/when you need to come back for a second or third visit to finish the procedure.
Preparing for and Recovering from Root Canal
It is best to get a pre-root canal check up with the same dentist who will perform the procedure. He/she will provide you with a checklist of things to do as well as avoid prior to the treatment. After the procedure, your dentist may give you prescription medication to help with the pain.
Here are some of the things to observe prior to undergoing this dental procedure:
- Right before the procedure (12-24 hours) do not eat foods that are likely to stick to your teeth, specifically inside existing cavities.
- Do not drink medication that are known to increase risks of bleeding (read the warning label on the back of the prescription bottle)-Sugar or sugar-laced drinks or food items should be avoided at all costs.
- Brush your teeth and floss properly-If you are using at-home whitening kits for your teeth, do not apply anything on your teeth 1-2 days prior to the treatment in order to avoid any adverse interaction of substances.
- Alcohol consumption must be avoided a day or two prior to the procedure.
While root canals are known to be painful, the amount of discomfort does not last more than a couple of days (at most). You should be able to eat right after the procedure, unless otherwise indicated by your dentist. If you are feeling pain during meals, you might want to eat soft solids during the first couple of days.
Pain medications may be prescribed by your dentist, in addition to the antibiotics. Be sure to take the medications at the prescribed time and dosage so as not to delay recovery.
If you experience severe discomfort or pain despite taking pain medication, or if you notice excessive swelling days after the procedure, be sure to visit your dentist and get a check-up right away. Another warning sign is fever and/or chills anytime after the treatment.
Root canal treatment, when done by an expert dentist, can help save your tooth and prevent any major oral issues in the future. Ask your dentist as many relevant questions as possible in order to get all necessary information prior to your procedure. A good dentist always keeps his patient informed every step of the way.