There are many dental procedures to restore damaged teeth. Root canal treatment is a procedure used to save a tooth from needing extraction. While it can seem overwhelming, the process is incredibly common. Read on to find the answers to your questions about this common dental treatment.
Who Needs a Root Canal Treatment?
If decay reaches your tooth’s pulp, it may develop an infection or abscess. Some infections develop in the pulp inside the crown, but many abscesses form around the tooth’s roots. The inflammation and pressure from the infection irritate the tooth’s nerves, which can cause severe, throbbing pain that doesn’t respond well to pain medications.
Besides pain, tooth infections may present with:
- Pain that radiates to other parts of the face
- Facial swelling
- Pain increases with pressure/chewing
- Visible pus
- Bad breath from the pus
In some cases, your dentist may recommend root canal treatment when you don’t have an infection. For example, if you severely damaged your tooth from trauma, you have a high risk of developing a future infection. A preventative root canal treatment can prevent the infection.
What Happens During Treatment?
The dentist starts by fully numbing the area, and then they open the tooth’s crown. They use hand instruments like files to fully remove all the debris. The hardest part is fully removing pulp tissue in the tooth’s roots. Some dentists may use ultrasonic devices to remove debris more effectively.
The area is also irrigated to ensure no debris is left behind. The dentist also smooths the inside of the root canals to make it harder for microorganisms to take hold. Once the pulp and infection are fully gone, the dentist fills in the tooth with gutta-percha. This biocompatible material is added to adhesive dental cement to create a seal.
The dentist then closes the tooth. They will recommend an artificial dental crown. Root canal treatment can weaken the tooth by giving it a large filling, but a dental crown will add strength and protect the tooth from shattering.
How Long Does the Procedure Take?
For teeth with fewer roots, treatment may take 30 to 60 minutes. However, molars have more roots, so treatment may last up to an hour and a half. However, depending on the severity of the infection, you may have to split up the treatment into multiple visits.
If this happens, the dentist will open the tooth and start cleaning. They may add antibiotics inside the tooth and give you a prescription for oral antibiotics. Once the infection is fully gone, the dentist finishes the root canal treatment during a later visit.
How Can You Ease the Procedure?
One of the best ways you can ease the entire process is by taking your antibiotics. As soon as your dentist prescribes them, start taking them, and finish the whole bottle. Antibiotics are the best way to reduce swelling and pain.
Root canal treatment can leave you feeling tender and sore. For this reason, you may want to take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen before and after treatment to help reduce inflammation.
If you believe you have an infected tooth, you need root canal treatment. It’s a great way to save a damaged tooth because the only alternative is extraction. If you would like to know more, contact us at Commack Hills Dental Group today.