Did you just find out that you need a root canal? A million thoughts and concerns might be going through your mind, like how bad is your root canal going to be. But don’t worry, root canals aren’t scary at all.
In fact, root canals get rid of the pain and discomfort you’re already experiencing like:
- Pain when chewing or biting
- Lingering sensitivity to hot or cold
- Pimples on the gums
- Swollen or tender gums
- Discolored gums or teeth
- Chipped or cracked teeth
In celebration of Root Canal Awareness Week, which happens every May, we’ve put together a few of our most frequently asked questions about this common endodontic procedure that occurs over 41,000 times a day.
What is a root canal?
A root canal treatment repairs and saves a badly decayed or infected tooth. During this procedure, the inside of the affected tooth is cleaned by removing the pulp and nerve, then sealed to avoid infection.
Is a root canal painful?
No, a root canal isn’t painful. You’ll feel some pressure, but that’s about it because you’ll have an anesthetic. Root canals relieve pain, not cause it. Some patients will have tender gums after the procedure, but nothing that over-the-counter pain medication can’t fix!
How long does a root canal take?
Root canals can take up to two 30-90 minute appointments, depending on the severity of the case. The first appointment is the root canal itself, where the infected pulp is removed. The second appointment is when the root canal is cleaned and filled.
So how bad is a root canal?
Root canals aren’t bad at all. To prove it, we’ve outlined the steps your dentist will take to get you back on track with a happy and healthy smile. Plus, there are plenty of ways to ease your nerves before your dentist visit.
What to Expect From Your Root Canal Treatment
The affected tooth and surrounding area will be numbed. A dental dam will then be placed over the mouth where only the affected tooth will be exposed.
Step 2 :
Your dentist will drill a whole through the top of your tooth to get access to the inner tooth, or pulp chamber. Don’t worry, this won’t hurt!
The infected tissue and nerves inside the pulp chamber will be removed. Special instruments and disinfectants will then clean all the bad stuff out to prevent infection. After this, you won’t have any sensations in the tooth because the nerves will be removed.
Your dentist will shape the canals in your tooth so that a filling and sealant can be applied.
A rubber-like material will fill the root canal. Then a cement is applied over the tooth so bacteria can’t get in again. This part is very important!
After the root canal has been filled, your dentist will apply a temporary filling over the point where the hole was drilled, like a cavity filling.
The dental dam will be removed and you’ll be sent home with antibiotics.
After you’re finished with the antibiotics, you’ll return to the dentist where he/she will fit a permanent filling over the tooth. This helps support the tooth because it lost structure from within. It’ll also help keep bacteria out.
Then you’re all set. See? That wasn’t too bad!