Finding out you need to have a root canal done might be the scariest thought you have had in a while, but you’re not alone. Millions of teeth are treated and saved each year with a root canal treatment. This fact alone may not be enough to put your fear at ease, so let’s talk about a few things you should know going into a root canal so you can be prepared and feel confident.
It helps to know a little of the tooth anatomy to understand how the root canal procedure works. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue and creates the surrounding hard tissues of the tooth during development. The pulp extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the roots where it connects to the tissues surrounding the root. A root canal becomes needed when the pulp inside the root becomes infected or inflamed.
During the procedure the dentist will make an opening in the crown of the tooth and use very small tools to clean out the infected pulp and shape the space for filling. After the space is cleaned and shaped, the dentist will fill the canal area with biocompatible material. This substance seals the root and protects against further infection. The last step is to return to your dentist to have a crown put on the tooth to protect and restore it back to its full function.
After the procedure, it is normal to feel some tenderness in the area for several days. Until you have gone back to your dentist to have a crown put on, you must avoid using that tooth to eat. There are several home remedies for pain such as tee tree oil, ice packs, cold cucumber placed directly on the tooth, or a baking soda rinse. All of these are useful in keeping the tooth clean and reducing any swelling and discomfort that you may be experiencing.
The important thing to remember is to ask your dentist any questions you may have before you schedule the procedure. Make sure you know exactly what the plan is for before, during, and after the root canal so that you go into the procedure ready. It will take several hours, so be sure to plan ahead with a good podcast or audio book you can distract yourself with.
Call our Long Beach Dentist office today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule your bi-annual check-up!