Endodontic Surgery: What is a root canal?
The root canal is the passage within the tooth where the pulp connects with the tooth roots.
A root canal procedure is a dental treatment in which infected tooth pulp material is removed from the interior of the tooth with the intention of preventing pain and saving the tooth.
What are some signs that I may be in need of a root canal?
Pain in and around your teeth.
If you are experiencing an infection in your tooth then you will likely have pain.
You may notice sharp pain while you are chewing or otherwise applying pressure to the tooth. Commonly, patients will also have an increased sensitivity to hot or cold.
If you are experiencing pain in your tooth, make an appointment with your Canmore dentist as soon as possible for a diagnosis.
A noticeable bump on your gums.
If you have a bump that is similar to a small pimple then you may be in need of a root canal. This bump is referred to as a dental cyst.
Dental cysts form around the roots of decayed or infected teeth and sometimes form if the pulp of a tooth is infected.
Your tooth has become darker over time.
If you notice that your tooth is darkening or becoming black, it is an indication that the tooth is suffering from internal damage. If you notice that one of your teeth has become darker than the others, it may be indicative of a problem with the inner pulp.
Should I expect a root canal to be painful?
Root canal surgery, while not entirely pleasant, has become a fairly routine procedure in many dental offices. There’s little to no pain because your dentist will use local anesthesia to numb your tooth and gums so you’re comfortable during the procedure.
Once the root canal is completed you may feel some pain but this can be relieved with medications. Your dentist may suggest that you take over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil).
Generally, pre-treatment pain can be high, but the pain tends to drop moderately within a day of treatment and then drop substantially to minimal levels within a week.
What are some of the ways to prevent the need for a root canal?
To prevent the need for a root canal, it’s important to follow the same dental hygiene habits that help prevent cavities and other tooth problems. To keep your teeth healthy, try to get into the habit of following these steps:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
- Floss between your teeth at least once a day.
- Use fluoride toothpaste or a fluoride rinse.
- See your dentist for checkups every 6 months.
- Have your teeth professionally cleaned by your dentist at least once a year.
- Limit the amount of sugary food and refined carbohydrates you eat. These foods have a tendency to stick to your teeth. If you eat sugary foods, try to rinse your mouth or brush your teeth shortly afterward.