It’s crucial to have accurate information when considering a root canal. A qualified general dentist or endodontist can offer up-to-date knowledge about how root canals work and why you might need one.
Here are five common root canal questions received at the Phoenix Endodontic Group.
5 Top Root Canal Questions – Answered.
- What symptoms indicate a root canal may be needed? Natural teeth that are candidates for root canals have typically been damaged by decay or infection, or suffered structural damage to the tooth. Symptoms that may call for a root canal include: a severe toothache when you chew or apply pressure to the affected tooth; prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold; a recurring pimple on the gums near the tooth; discoloration of the tooth; swelling or tenderness in adjacent gum tissue.
- Will a root canal hurt? Today’s root canal procedures typically relieve pain created by infection or damage to the nerves inside the tooth pulp, rather than causing pain. Additionally, endodontists receive special training in pain management, so even post-operative discomfort is typically minimal.
- Is a root canal a better option than having my tooth pulled? The answer to this question depends on the overall health of your tooth, the gums surrounding it, and whether other natural teeth are suffering advanced decay or infection. One noteworthy advantage to retaining your natural teeth is a reduced chance of bone loss in your jaw. Such loss can lead to a host of negative consequences.
- What happens during a root canal? Here is a brief overview of how a root canal is performed: First, your endodontist will take X-rays. Then, they will numb the area with a local anesthetic and place a dental dam over the tooth to protect it from bacteria. Next, the practitioner will drill an access hole in the crown of the tooth. The pulp chamber and roots of the tooth will be thoroughly cleaned, shaped with special tools, then filled with a biocompatible material. Once complete, the endodontist covers the opening with a temporary filling. Weeks later, the final step in the procedure takes place: placing a crown, permanently sealing the access hole.
- Does it take a long time to recover after a root canal? Most patients experience some mild tenderness in the area of the root canal for a few days. This is usually managed with over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers. This discomfort should disappear within a week. If you experience severe pain, significant swelling, or if your temporary filling falls out, contact your endodontist as soon as possible so they can examine the tooth.
“It’s normal to be apprehensive if you have never had a root canal before,” says Dr. Susan L. Wood, who practices with the Phoenix Endodontic Group. “Our office is always happy to answer your questions about root canals and provide you with a more comprehensive view of the procedure.”