Even if you haven’t had a root canal yourself, you’ve probably heard the myths and horror stories. But don’t get lost in the hysteria. Root canals are incredibly common, nearly painless, and highly successful. So if you’ve been suffering from tooth pain or sensitivity, don’t hesitate to visit your dentist and learn when to get a root canal. It could protect your tooth and save you a lot of pain and suffering.
When to Get a Root Canal
When it comes to root canals, myths abound, and you’ve probably heard them all. It’s been said that root canals hurt, that they cause disease, and that you only need to get one when a tooth is painful. One myth even alleged that root canals cause cancer and other diseases. With stories like that swirling around the world of dental care, it’s no wonder people dread root canals. But there’s good news! All those myths have been busted. So if your dentist sits you down to talk about when to get a root canal, don’t run for the door.
What Causes a Root Canal
Your teeth are strong, but poor dental care can cause the protective enamel that encases your teeth to break down. When this happens, your teeth become sensitive and more vulnerable to fractures and cavities. This is when your tooth’s root can become infected. Each tooth has soft tissue that runs through the tooth’s canals. The tissue is made up of nerves and blood vessels, which provide vital nourishment to the tooth. When a cavity or fracture is left untreated, that pulpy, soft tissue becomes infected and causes pain – that’s when to get a root canal.
What Symptoms to Look For
Most of the time, patients notice signs that a tooth requires dental care before their dentist recommends a root canal. The most common symptoms include the following:
- Pain when chewing or brushing
- Lasting sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- Tenderness around the tooth and gum
- Discoloration of the tooth
- Swelling of the gum
Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms, and it can be difficult to know when to get a root canal. That’s why it is important to schedule regular visits to the dentist and practice healthy habits for good teeth. You can’t see what is happening inside your mouth, but a dentist can.
What Happens During the Procedure
Root canals are a common procedure used to save your tooth once infection sets in. If untreated, the infection can spread and cause damage to surrounding bone. Once this happens, there’s a greater risk of losing your tooth.
To remove the infection and stop it from spreading, a small opening is created at the top of the tooth. From this opening, the tooth’s nerve is removed from the canal, and the inside of the tooth is cleaned before the canals are filled with a rubber-like material. Filling in the now-empty canals helps to seal them from future infection. Once complete, a temporary filling is placed onto the tooth until a permanent filling or crown is ready. For more details about what happens during a root canal, visit the website of the American Dental Association.
What to Expect During Recovery
Swelling around your gums and lips will last for a few hours after the root canal, and lingering swelling can last for a few days. Don’t be alarmed if your tooth is still sensitive. This is normal following a root canal, but talk with your dentist about what to expect during recovery. Avoid chewing hard foods until a permanent crown is put on, and talk with your dentist about long-term care for the afflicted tooth. Root canals have a high success rate, but like all of your teeth, they can be damaged if they are not taken care of properly. Good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist are key to maintaining the condition of your teeth whether you’ve had a root canal or not.
At Wilkinson Dental, we provide an array of general and cosmetic dental services, including root canals, regular cleanings, crowns, dentures, teeth whitening services, and more. Visiting your dentist regularly helps keep your mouth healthy and in good condition. It also allows your dentist to watch for developments that might lead to long-term problems. Plus, an oral exam can detect early signs of poor nutrition, development problems, improper jaw alignment, and more. Call us today at 417-708-0556 to schedule your next appointment, and visit us online to review our list of services.