Many patients come into Phoenix Endodontic Group with pre-existing ‘knowledge’ regarding root canals, but much of what our patients think they know is untrue. There are many common root canal questions that continually arise in conversations with our patients. To answer these questions Dr. Susan Wood, a partner at Phoenix Endodontic Group, provides her expert knowledge in an exclusive interview!
Is a root canal painful?
A root canal procedure does not have to be painful, if the practitioner is adept in anticipating which teeth may pose a problem. For instance, studies have shown that lower molars that are irreversibly inflamed, are more difficult to anesthetize, and therefore, it might be wise to place the patient on a low dose steroid for a short period of time, prior to attempting treatment. This will decrease the inflammation significantly and allow the endodontist, to achieve more profound anesthesia, while also keeping the patient comfortable, in the interim.
What can I expect after my root canal procedure?
Studies show that post-op pain and intensity can be directly related to the patient’s pre-op symptoms. In other words, if a patient is in pain prior to a root canal procedure, they can expect to have some discomfort after treatment. Again, there are things that can be done in order to minimize this discomfort, but it is important for the clinician to recognize them, before they even begin treatment. Most post-treatment symptoms, however, are relatively mild to none at all.
After treatment, how can I care for my tooth?
After treatment, depending on the restoration placed by the endodontist (some general dentists prefer us to restore with a temporary restoration while others prefer us to place the necessary build-up, post and core, or crown repair), the patient should brush, floss or continue with whatever regiment they use on a regular basis.
Is there anything I should avoid after getting a root canal?
If the tooth undergoing a root canal procedure has not been crowned already, it is VERY important to see your general dentist within a few weeks, to have one placed. Overall, reducing chewing forces on the tooth for a few weeks, will allow for better healing and reduce symptoms significantly. Most teeth that were sore to chew on prior to treatment, will remain this way for a few days up to several weeks. Of course, if anything seems unusual, or if moderate discomfort is experienced after treatment, it is always a safe assumption that your endodontist should be notified.
How long can a root canal last?
Root canal procedures can last a lifetime, if the tooth is properly cared for, after the procedure is completed. Over 65% of the root canal procedures that fail, are due to the restoration that was placed after the root canal procedure was completed. Therefore, it is always important to follow your endodontist’s or general dentist’s recommendation for the proper restoration of your root-canal treated tooth.