A root canal often invokes cringes and feelings of pain, so it’s only natural to try to avoid having root canal therapy at all costs. That being said, if your dentist recommends a root canal, there could be major benefits to having this procedure done, and it could prevent further damage to the tooth or even surrounding teeth. There’s a lot of information on root canals, so here’s what you need to know about how beneficial a root canal can actually be.
First off, why is it needed?
A root canal is often performed on a tooth where the nerve is dead or very close to dying. The process of a tooth dying can be very painful, but once it’s dead, there will be very little, if any, feeling left. A tooth can die in a number of ways, though the most common is through an infection or abscess that grows and attacks the nerve. Without an active nerve a tooth can become brittle and possibly crack from the pressure of chewing.
What is a root canal?
A root canal cleans out the infected or dead material in the tooth, and fills in the leftover space with a biocompatible plastic material to make the tooth stronger. If a tooth cracks, sometimes it cannot be saved and it may need to be pulled. A root canal may be able to prevent the need to pull a tooth and keep all of your teeth in your mouth for a long time to come.
What if my tooth is still infected?
During the procedure, your dentist will clean up any infected or dead material so that the inside of the tooth will be properly prepped for a root canal. If your dentist thinks you may still be prone to another infection after the procedure is done, they may provide you with a prescription for antibiotics to combat any additional infections.
What happens afterwards?
The recovery time after a root canal is minimal. You’ll likely be in the chair at your dentist for a few hours, but after that it’s almost like having a filling done. You might be sore as a root canal cleans deep within a tooth and there can be some residual discomfort from the appointment, but after about a day you should be able to go back to your regular routine.
Eventually, your dentist will likely recommend a cap, or crown, on the tooth that had the procedure done. If you had an infection your dentist will probably wait a while to make sure it has all cleared up before putting a crown on. It is often easier to perform work on a tooth before the crown is placed.
While a root canal may sound really scary and painful, it really isn’t. It can save an infected tooth from causing more issues and it can sometimes prevent a tooth from being extracted. Your dentist will do everything she can to help save your smile, and she will work with you to make you feel comfortable every step of the way.