You’re probably familiar with the term ‘root canal’ as many films and television shows have referenced the procedure over the years. Mostly, it’s used as an example of an incredibly painful and uncomfortable treatment that everyone wants to avoid. But times have changed! With the advancement of modern technology, root canals are no longer the horrific treatment that old sitcoms made them out to be.
But what exactly are root canals and when might you need one? Read on to find out more about this dental procedure…
What does a root canal treat?
Root canals are actually a part of your tooth’s anatomy. They are the passages inside the roots where pulp, nerves, and blood vessels are contained. When the pulp inside the root canal becomes infected, a root canal treatment is required. Over time, the term ‘root canal’ has become synonymous with the treatment itself more than the anatomical part of the tooth.
If the infection is left untreated, then the pulp inside the tooth will start to die, weakening the structure of the tooth. The bacteria will also spread to other parts of the mouth through the network of roots, affecting other teeth. The following are symptoms to look out for that might suggest you have an infected root canal:
- Pain when chewing
- Inflamed gums
- A loose tooth
- A darkened tooth
- A discharge of pus from the tooth or gum
The root canal treatment effectively removes the dead and damaged pulp from inside the tooth and fills the empty chamber with, usually with a substance called gutta percha. A filling or crown is then fitted on top of the tooth to rebuild its structure.
Is a root canal painful?
The first step of a root canal is to numb the area that will be treated. This removes any pain from the procedure, ensuring that you feel very little of what is going on in your mouth. If an injection is used to administer the local anesthetic, then you may feel some pain from this, but it will only be momentary. With pain-free dentistry, alternatives techniques like creams and gels can be used to numb the area, instead.
If you have an infected root canal, then the biggest pain you have to worry about is if you leave it untreated. Oral infections can cause a great deal of pain, especially when biting and chewing. And this pain will only get worse if the infection is given the chance to spread.
After a root canal treatment, you may feel some pain or discomfort as the affected area heals, but this should not be too severe and can easily be managed with over-the-counter painkillers. This discomfort should pass after a few days to a week. Book an appointment with your dentist if your pain is severe after a root canal treatment.
If you’re looking for a family dentist in Advance, NC to treat your root canal, then contact Advance Family Dental. We bring pain-free dentistry to patients all around Bermuda Run, Clemmons, Lewisville, and Winston Salem.