What Happens During a Root Canal

If you have tooth pain, a broken tooth, or significant decay, most likely, the tooth can be saved with a root canal. However, the words “root canal” often fill patients with fear or dread, mainly because they don’t know what to expect. To help you feel a bit more confident and less worried, our Fuquay Varina dentist is providing all the information you need to know what to expect during a root canal.

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a simple dental procedure that repairs a badly decayed or broken tooth. When there’s bad tooth decay or the tooth is broken, the pulp, or the soft tissue within the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels are located, becomes inflamed and can become infected. In addition to being painful, an abscess can form and bacteria from the infection can cause serious illness.

To prevent this, treat the inflammation, relieve the pain, and save the tooth, the nerve and the pulp are removed, the surrounding area is cleaned, and the tooth is sealed off. After that, the dentist will generally cover it with an artificial crown so you can have full functionality of the tooth while protecting what’s left of the tooth below.

What to Expect During a Root Canal?

Typically, a dentist or an endodontist can perform root canals. If you have a broken or painful tooth, they’ll take x-rays to see what procedure needs to be performed, and if there’s infection, you may need a round of antibiotics before the procedure.

The day of the root canal, you’ll most likely receive another round of x-rays to double check the procedure can safely be performed. Then, your dentist will numb the area to make sure you don’t feel anything. A dental dam is placed over your mouth to isolate the tooth and keep the area clean and dry.

The dentist will remove the decayed areas of the tooth as well as the soft tissue inside that contains the pulp. Special tools are used to clean out the inside around the root to ensure nothing is left behind that could cause infection or pain. Once your dentist has cleaned everything and disinfected the inside of the tooth, a natural latex is inserted to fill in where the pulp was and a harder composite is used on top of that where the crown of the tooth was.

Healing from a Root Canal

There is actually very little healing from a root canal.  After the numbness wears off, you may feel a bit tender or sore, but that should go away soon, usually within a day or two. We would recommend eating soft foods or chewing on the other side of your mouth for a few days, but you should brush and floss as usual.

Your dentist will also schedule a follow-up appointment about a week to 10 days after the root canal to check your healing and to build a crown around your tooth to protect it and keep it strong. With proper dental health practices, including brushing twice a day, flossing each evening, and scheduling regular dental check ups and cleanings, your root canal and crown can last permanently.

Schedule an Appointment with Hamby Family Dental Center Today

If you are experiencing pain in a tooth or you’re simply due for a cleaning and checkup, we can help. Schedule an appointment at our family dental center in Fuquay-Varina today at  919-552-2431 or fill out the form below to contact our staff.

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