How Do I Know If I Need Root Canal?
Tooth pain can point to a number of different issues, however these are the general symptoms of an infected or damaged root canal:
- Sharp pain when eating, or pain related to hot or cold food or drink
- Swollen gums around the painful tooth
- A tooth that looks stained or darker than the rest
What is a Root Canal?
The root canal is the center part of your tooth underneath your enamel, composed of pulp and the tooth roots. Pulp is composed of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues. it is what creates the hard outer surface of the tooth. If the root canal gets infected, a procedure can be done to remove the affected nerve and pulp in order to reduce pain and treat infection.
The Root Canal Procedure
After consulting your dentist, they will schedule an appointment which will include taking x-rays to help determine the scope of damage to the tooth. The root canal procedure will be done by an endodontist, a specialist in such procedures.
During the procedure, A local anesthetic will be used to numb the area around your tooth and gum before drilling a small hole into the tooth to reach to damaged nerve and pulp. Your endodontist will seal the hole when all the infection is removed from the inside of the tooth. If your infection was more severe, it might be recommended to get a crown or filling to both protect your tooth from returning infection and to allow you to resume normal drinking and eating.
Recovery & Prevention
Patients typically begin feeling better one or two days after the procedure, however, recovery can take up to a week for some. If you received a temporary sealant during the procedure, a permanent crown or filling will replace it at your follow up appointment. Remember to follow your endodontist’s and dentist’s instructions for your recovery, including post procedure eating habits and brushing habits to make sure that you have a smooth recovery.
Prevent root canal infections by following a good oral routine:
- Floss your teeth once a day and brush twice a day
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash to reduce infectious bacteria
- Maintain a healthy diet with low amounts of sugur and acidic foods
- Visit your dentist twice yearly for preventative checkups – catching a potential problem early can be the difference between preventative treatment and a painful procedure.