Root canals have a bad reputation, but they can be lifesavers for many people. If you have an infected or severely damaged tooth, a root canal may be the best way to save it and avoid extraction. However, many people feel anxious about having a root canal, which is understandable. Here is a closer look at root canals, including the signs that you may need one, the importance of this procedure, and what to expect during the process.
Signs that You Need a Root Canal
The first step in understanding root canals is knowing when you may need one. Some common signs that your tooth may need a root canal include severe toothache, swelling around the tooth, sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, and discoloration of the tooth. However, not all infected teeth show any symptoms, so it’s essential to see a dentist regularly, even if you’re not experiencing any pain.
Importance of Root Canals
Root canals are crucial for saving teeth that are severely damaged or infected. Without this procedure, the only alternative would be to extract the tooth, which can cause significant problems such as gaps between teeth, difficulty chewing, and shifting of remaining teeth. Root canals help preserve your natural teeth, protect your jawbone, and restore your smile.
What to Expect During the Root Canal Procedure
The root canal procedure typically involves two or three appointments with your dentist. In the initial dental visit, your dentist will administer local anesthesia to numb the area surrounding the affected tooth. They will then create an opening in the tooth to reach the infected or damaged pulp. The pulp is then removed, and the root canals are cleaned and shaped. In some cases, medication may be placed in the canals to help eliminate any remaining bacteria. During the second appointment, your dentist will fill the canals with a rubber-like material and seal the tooth. If necessary, a crown or other type of dental restoration may be placed over the tooth.
Recovery After a Root Canal
After a root canal, most people can go back to their normal activities, but they may experience some discomfort or sensitivity for a few days. Your dentist may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers, and you should avoid chewing on the treated tooth until it’s fully restored. It’s also essential to practice good oral hygiene, including brushing a couple of times a day and flossing daily.
Contact a dentist to learn more about root canals.