What To Expect When Getting a Root Canal

Root canals have a bad reputation for being “scary” treatments. But really they’re not! We’re here today to share why a root canal can be your best course of action if you’re suffering from an infected, inflamed tooth. We’re going to dive into what a root canal actually is and how to know if you may need one. We’ll also cover what root canal the process looks like when you’re in the dentist chair and post care recommendations for after your tooth is healed.

What is a root canal?

According to the American Association of Endodontists, a root canal treatment is designed to eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal, prevent reinfection of the tooth and save the natural tooth. The old saying used to be, “It’s better to have a tooth pulled than get a root canal,” and that could not be further from the truth. Nothing artificial can replace the look or function of a natural tooth so it’s important to always consider root canal treatment as an option.

How do you know if you need a root canal?

You might need a root canal if you’re…

  • experiencing any pain while chewing
  • experiencing any lingering sensitivity to hot or cold
  • have swollen and/or tender gums
  • notice any of your gums darkening

If any of these apply to you, then it’s in your best interest to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

Root canal treatments can actually save your tooth, preventing you from needing it pulled later. So it’s important to get in with your dentist right away.

What does the process of a root canal look like?

When you come into the office to get a root canal, your visit will begin with anesthesia to numb the treatment area. At Midlothian we offer two types of sedation dentistry: conscious and IV sedation. Having multiple options helps make dental work a breeze by eliminating multiple office visits and putting your fears to rest.

After the treatment area is fully numb, the dentist will remove the infected, inflamed pulp. This is usually found just below the hard layer of dentin (material under the tooth’s enamel), as well as the nerve in the root of the tooth. Your dentist will then thoroughly clean and disinfect the inside of the tooth. Once clean, the inside of the tooth will be filled and sealed. The final step in the root canal process is the placement of a crown to restore your tooth’s original shape and function.

This entire treatment process can be completed in one appointment. And afterwards, you’ll be able to return to school or work. The numbness from the local anesthetic will wear off in a few hours. If you decide to eat after your root canal, try to eat soft foods that won’t hurt your teeth. It’s important to note that while the numbing is still in effect, you may accidentally bite down on your lip harder than intended. So be careful while you’re still numb!

Post Root Canal: What To Expect

You may experience some sensitivity for the first few days after your root canal, but this is completely normal. There are instances where the patient's bite feels a bit “off.” This is normally not discovered until after the anesthetic is worn off. If you notice that things don’t feel right when biting down or chewing, make a follow up appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

Once your appointment is complete, you’ll have one more follow-up visit with your dentist to make sure that everything has healed. Afterwards, you’ll want to resume regular appointments for cleanings and checkups.

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, pain or discomfort, please make an appointment with your dentist here at Midlothian Dental Center (804) 794-4588

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