While root canals are common procedures, patients often have a lot of questions when they find out that they need one. We want our patients to have plenty of information about root canals before the procedure starts. Our team here at Logan Utah Dental is happy to explain what a root canal is for, how the procedure is done, and what the patient can expect during the recovery period.
The Reason for Having a Root Canal
The purpose of a root canal is to save a tooth that’s badly damaged due to decay or infection. Cracked teeth that have become infected are often repaired using this approach. If a tooth is badly decayed but the walls are still intact, it may be possible to salvage the tooth.
While much of the work focuses on the portion of the tooth located above the gum line, we also use this method to remove infection or decay from within the canal of the root.
How is the Procedure Performed?
Before the actual procedure, our team will take a series of X-rays. This allows us to determine the extent of the damage. We are trained to detect signs of infection based on the shadowing on each X-ray. Once we’ve analyzed the findings, we can tell you exactly what needs to be done.
Just before we begin the procedure, you will receive local anesthesia. This ensures that you are not in pain during the root canal. While the amount of pain is similar to that of an extraction, we want you to be as comfortable as possible.
Once the anesthesia has taken effect, we’ll begin the procedure. This involves carefully making an opening and removing the damaged pulp. The amount of time involved will depend on how much damage is present. Once the pulp is removed, we’ll clean the space to ensure the infection is gone. The empty space is filled with a rubbery substance known as gutta-percha. Once the substance settles in place, we will add a filling and possibly a crown.
Tips for the Healing Period
Once the root canal is completed, there are several recommendations we make to patients. The first is to avoid eating anything until the anesthesia has worn off. Attempting to chew while a portion of the mouth is still numb increases the chances for accidentally biting the tongue or the inside of the cheek.
Even after the feeling returns, chew on the opposite side. This will reduce the chances of any residue collecting around the tooth and causing irritation or pain.
Do not take over the counter pain medication that thins the blood. We will provide you with suggestions of what will help with any swelling that you experience over the next couple of days and ensure that you don’t experience 1 single complication.
If the swelling seems to linger or gets worse over the next few days, come in and we’ll examine the tooth and the surrounding gum tissue. The same goes if you notice the development of a rash, or pain similar to what you experienced before the root canal took place. While these situations are rare, we know how to ease the discomfort and get you back on the road to a complete recovery.
Remember that it is safe to brush. In fact, we recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day. If the gum around the tooth feels tender, it’s fine to brush with less vigor in that area. Rest assured the tenderness will fade in a day or two.
We always have time to answer any questions you have about root canals and what to expect after undergoing this type of dental procedure. Our promise to you is that all procedures are performed in a sterile environment and with the latest technology. Once the root canal is over and the healing is completed, your tooth will be good as new.