A root canal (also known as an endodontic treatment) is no more painful than regular dental work (like a filling or a wisdom tooth removal).Everyone has heard a scary saying about root canals, but you shouldn’t panic if you realize you may need one!
Endodontic specialists handle this serious procedure every day. To prevent discomfort, patients receive local anesthesia before the procedure begins and typically experience lingering numbness or soreness afterward. Mild discomfort is common for a few days following the procedure, but patients often return to work or school immediately after a root canal. Although patients are advised to wait two to four hours to eat (until the anesthesia numbness wears off), a root canal should not impact your day too much.
Our award-winning team at Gulf Coast Dental Care is fully equipped to relieve your discomfort! Keep reading to learn more about our root canal procedure and signs you may need to consider receiving this treatment.
What is a Root Canal?
Beneath the hard layers of enamel and dentin in your teeth, there is a soft tissue, called pulp. Pulp contains nerves, connective tissue and blood vessels that aid in root growth during tooth development. Once a tooth is fully developed it is nourished by the tissues surrounding it and no longer needs pulp to survive. When pulp becomes infected or inflamed, eating and drinking can become very painful.
To treat and relieve this severe discomfort, endodontists will prescribe a root canal. A root canal treatment removes bacteria from the infected root canal, prevents the tooth from becoming reinfected and saves as much of your natural tooth as possible. During the procedure all the bad pulp is removed, the inside of that tooth is cleaned and disinfected and then the tooth is filled with gutta-percha, a rubber-like, biocompatible substance, and sealed.
Depending on your circumstances, the number of teeth affected and the condition of your tooth, modern root canal treatment is usually completed in one or two appointments – very similar to a routine filling.
Benefits of a Root Canal
In addition to the clinical reasons for getting a root canal, there are also many practical benefits of the procedure associated with saving your natural teeth. So don’t worry if your dentist prescribes it. Each year, millions of damaged, diseased teeth are saved using this relatively painless, extremely effective treatment to relieve pain and return teeth to health.
Other advantages of saving your natural teeth through root canal treatment include:
- Normal sensation and bite force
- Natural appearance and smile
- Efficient biting and chewing
- Protect other teeth from strain and excessive wear
- Saves time and money (compared to a tooth extraction, which requires ongoing dental work)
- Can last a lifetime!
Signs You May Need a Root Canal
The most general sign that a patient may need a root canal is tooth sensitivity, specifically to hot and cold sensations. Root canals are also prescribed to treat deep cavities, cracked teeth (caused by injury or even genetics) and issues from a previous filling.
- Symptoms that may indicate you need a root canal:
- Pimples on gums
- Tender, swollen gums
- Gum darkening or decay
- Extreme pain while eating (biting or chewing)
- Lingering sensitivity to cold or hot sensations (even after the cause of the sensation is removed)
If you suspect you may need a root canal or are experiencing other oral pain symptoms, call us now! We will schedule an appointment for you with one of our expert dentists at Gulf Coast Dental Care. Our office in Gulfport, Mississippi has been trusted to provide personalized dental care, including root canals, since 1969. We can help determine what is causing your pain, recommend effective treatment option(s) and answer questions you have about root canals or other dental work.