7 Top Tidbits About Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy isn't as scary as it sounds

Everything You Need to Know About Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy is a relatively common dental procedure that’s used to treat tooth infections without having to extract the tooth. Despite how commonplace the treatment is, many patients are unfamiliar with some key details about root canal therapy.

1. Why It’s Called “Root Canal” Therapy

Most people refer to the root canal procedure as “having a root canal” or “getting a root canal done.” Dentists will call it a root canal procedure or root canal therapy. The name comes from the area that’s being treated, which is the root canal.

The inside of your tooth contains soft pulp and nerve tissue, and this tissue extends into the roots. The space inside the root that contains this tissue is the root canal. When a tooth is very decayed or physically damaged, bacteria can infect this soft tissue, causing pain and eventually leading to an abscessed tooth.

A root canal treatment provides an alternative to simply extracting the tooth. The dentist will make an opening in the top of the tooth and remove the soft tissue inside. With the soft tissue gone, there’s nothing inside the tooth to become infected. The tooth is then filled with the same material used in regular cavity fillings.

2. Some Signs to Watch Out For

Root canals have a variety of symptoms, many of which are common to other dental issues as well. If you’re dealing with any of the following, you should reach out to your family dentist to find out what’s wrong.

  • Enduring tooth pain
  • Increased sensitivity to temperature
  • Sudden tooth discoloration
  • Pain when eating
  • Swollen gums
  • Loose teeth

These are all reasons to book an appointment to see if you have a root canal infection or another issue. Severe tooth pain can be a reason to call an emergency dentist, as you could be dealing with an infection that has already progressed.

If you have serious tooth pain that stops suddenly, that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. It could mean that the nerve tissue inside your tooth has died and can no longer transmit pain signals. The infection could be getting worse, so visit your dentist anyway.

3. Root canal treatment isn’t actually painful.

Within popular culture, root canals are considered a frightening procedure that should be avoided at all costs. While everyone should take care of their teeth to prevent the tooth decay that leads to the need for root canal therapy, this idea of the treatment is very inaccurate.

A root canal procedure isn’t all that much different from simply getting a very large filling. You’ll have a local anesthetic to prevent pain during the treatment. In fact, your root canal treatment will serve to effectively relieve any pain you’ve been experiencing due to the infection.

4. It’s relatively quick.

Many patients ask, “How long does a root canal take?” with the impression that it is a long procedure. However, the entire procedure rarely takes more than an hour. During that time, you’ll be relatively comfortable. If you’re having a dental crown installed as well, that can add some additional time to the procedure.

5. Tooth function isn’t affected.

Patients are often concerned about the long-term effects that a root canal will have on their teeth. Your dentist will likely recommend you receive a crown as well to ensure that your tooth stays strong and able to withstand the pressure of your bite. You won’t be able to feel temperature or pain in the particular tooth, but it will be as strong and durable as ever—and you will be able to enjoy all the same foods you did before.

6. Recovering After a Root Canal

After your root canal procedure, you might experience some soreness or swelling. In most cases, over-the-counter pain medication is more than enough to handle this. Sticking to softer foods for a few days can help deal with any sensitivity as well. If any pain persists, be sure to reach out to your dentist to make sure you are healing as you should.

7. Root Canals and Dental Crowns

If you had a root canal procedure done on a molar at the back of your mouth, you are more likely to need a dental crown. Your teeth can exert around 200 pounds of pressure, so they are incredibly strong. To maintain the strength and full force of your bite, a dental crown will be placed to ensure you can continue to bite and chew as normal. 

Root Canal Therapy in Wilson, NC

Whether you need an emergency dentist or a family dentist, you can count on Dixon, Boles & Associates for reliable dental care. If you’re dealing with any of the symptoms of a root canal infection or other dental issues, you can contact us today to book an appointment and get the treatment you need to relieve pain and set a foundation for good oral health.

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Dixon Boles & Associates