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Most of the time, we are afraid of the things that we don’t know. If your dentist advised you to have root canal therapy, you might be wondering about the level of pain you have to endure. To alleviate your dental anxiety and quench your curiosity, discover if it is painful and learn how a root canal works.
Is it painful to have a root canal?
Thanks to modern technology, root canal therapy comes with a local anesthetic to relieve the pain during the procedure. The experience and pain level are quite similar to a dental filling treatment. However, root canal therapy usually takes longer than other dental procedures since it includes cleaning the pulp and restoring the tooth structure.
How does a root canal work?
Root canal therapy is a treatment for severe tooth decay where the tooth pulp is already infected. It helps prevent the spread of the infection and tooth abscess, a pus-filled pocket in the gums. Here’s how a root canal works:
1. During a root canal procedure, your dentist or endodontist will first apply a numbing cream and use local anesthesia on the gums around the tooth.
2. Once the anesthesia kicks in, a dental dam will be placed on your mouth to isolate the affected tooth.
3. Your dentist will access the tooth pulp by drilling the tooth. For the front teeth, the hole is drilled from the back of the tooth. The molar teeth are drilled through the chewing surface.
4. The pulp is removed along with the infected tissue using specially designed dental tools. From this point, your tooth will no longer feel pain.
5. Antiseptic and antibacterial solutions will be flushed into the area to disinfect the tooth and prepare it for the root canal fillings.
6. Your dentist will measure the depth of your tooth root to make sure if the fillings can reach the tip of the roots.
7. The sterile root canal fillings will be placed on the tooth and sealed by a heated thermoplastic material in the area to prevent reinfection.
8. A temporary filling will be used to seal the tooth permanently. Your dentist may recommend your tooth for crown treatment to protect it from further damage.
What to expect after a root canal treatment
After a root canal treatment, your dentist will prescribe an antibiotic to prevent any infection in the treated area. You will also feel a bit of discomfort, but it will subside as soon as your gums and affected tooth recover.
However, your newly restored tooth will not be as strong as it used to be and must be fully restored with a dental crown. So, moving forward, you should treat it with extra care.
Root canal aftercare: Do’s and Don’ts
The goal of a root canal is to preserve your natural tooth and prevent the spread of infection. After the treatment, you must treat the newly restored tooth by following these after-care tips:
● After the treatment, do not eat anything that will require you to use your treated tooth.
● Wait for the numbness to wear off before you eat to avoid hurting yourself.
● Do not bite or chew on the treated tooth until it is capped with a crown to prevent further damage.
● Brush and floss daily to maintain your oral health and to prevent inflammation or infection in the treated area.
● Consult your dentist for any instances of throbbing pain or swelling.
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Scarborough, ON M1P 2W6