Patients often ask our staff at Phoenix Endodontic Group questions about their root canals looking to better understand what they will experience. Many people are concerned about the severity of the procedure or how much recovery time to plan for.
The good news is that many root canals have a quick recovery time – often just a week of special post-operative care. Many factors can impact your individual outcome, though, so it is important to understand the circumstances that brought you to the endodontist in the first place. Here’s a short list of some situations that can make the root canal procedure itself or your post-op period require extra care to ensure the root canal is successful.
When there is pre-existing infection or tooth damage. A crack or chip can let infection deep into a tooth’s pulp. Extensive tooth decay can also reach the pulp. If the infection causes an abscess, antibiotics may be needed first to eliminate the bacteria so the root canal can safely seal the roots so infection does not happen again.
When the tooth involved has multiple roots. The level of complexity involved with cleaning and sealing canals during a root canal increases with the number of canals in the tooth receiving treatment. Molars have up to four canals; premolars have one or two; canines and incisors have just a single canal.
When you don’t contact your endodontist if you have aftercare problems. An ordinary root canal can escalate quickly to challenging if you do not promptly call your endodontist when you experience pain that is severe or rapidly increasing; if the temporary filling placed in the tooth comes out; or if you can see swelling inside or outside of your mouth.
When you don’t return for your permanent crown as scheduled. The tooth being treated with a root canal should receive a permanent crown about two weeks after the procedure. Crowns provide structural support, protect the tooth from infection, and reduce nerve sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages. Not getting a permanent crown leaves your tooth vulnerable to further damage or infection and possible the failure of the root canal.
“The seriousness of each root canal is impacted by a patient’s individual oral health,” says Dr. Susan L. Wood, of the Phoenix Endodontic Group. “We are happy to explain our assessment of your situation and provide tips for making your root canal successful and stress-free, so it can help you hold on to your natural tooth for the rest of your life.”