Root Canal 101

Root Canal 101

When you have severe tooth decay, your dentist may recommend a root canal therapy as a way to preserve your teeth and stop the spread of the infection to the surrounding tissues. Without a root canal treatment, an abscess may form and further aggravate the situation or worse still cause tooth extraction. In this post, we answer all the common questions regarding root canal.

1. What Is a Root Canal?

Our teeth have two parts; the enamel and dentine. Inside the dentine, we have soft tissue or pulp. This pulp chamber or root canal further houses connective tissues, blood vessels, and nerves. The pulp is important during teeth development, but once the teeth have attained maturity, they can survive without it. Mature teeth don’t need the pulp as they are nourished by the surrounding tissues.

Although your teeth may not need the pulp, once its infected the pain is unbearable and can also damage the surrounding teeth.

2. What Causes Pulp Infection and Inflammation?

Decay is the primary cause of pulp inflammation. Improper dental hygiene can cause plaque to build and lead to bacterial growth and decay. Furthermore, cracks or chips in the teeth can cause bacteria to fester.

Disease, trauma, repeated dental procedures and large dental filling can all contribute to pulp inflammation.

3. How Can I Tell I Need a Root Canal?

Not all toothaches are a sign of root canal infection, so don’t assume the worst when you get a tooth pain. You may need a root canal treatment if you have severe pain when chewing, lingering tooth sensitivity, pimples in your gum, tender and bleeding gums. When you notice one or more of these symptoms, it is vital to see a root canal dentist for an assessment.

4. What to Expect During a Root Canal Procedure?

A root canal treatment is performed in one or two dental visits and it involves:

  • The dentist will examine and assess your dental health. Plus, they will take a radiograph of the tooth to check the extent of the decay and the surrounding tissues.
  • Next, they will numb the area with anesthesia and separate the teeth from the rest using a dry sheet.
  • Using small dental instruments, the dentist will clean the pulp and shape the space for a filling.
  • The dentist will fill the cleaned canal with a biocompatible material to seal the area
  • A dental crown is fixed on your second dental appointment

5. Do I Need Dental Crowns?

Some people may deem dental crowns unnecessary, but the teeth caps are vital. The root canal procedure weakens the teeth and you will need a crown to strengthen it and restore its function. Furthermore, not having a dental crown can increase the risk of a re-infection. It is crucial to use dental crowns, especially on the molars as they are subjected to constant chewing.

6. What Happens After the Procedure?

Although you will not experience any pain during the procedure, you will have discomfort and pain after the anesthesia wears off. Additionally, you may experience swelling, tooth sensitivity, or inflammation. Some people may also have an uneven bite.  

7. How Can I Take Care of the Teeth After the Treatment?

In the first few days, you need to stay on a soft diet and foods that require less chewing. Plus, avoid hot or hard foods that may hurt your gum and teeth.

Also, don’t eat until the anesthesia wears off to avoid hurting your tongue or cheeks.

8. Can Root Canal Treatment Fail?

Yes, it is possible to have a re-infection due to several factors such as multiple canals, breakdown of the crown or sealant used, or any other thing that may cause an infection. The good news is, if reinfection occurs, our endodontist in Nashua, NH can perform the procedure again.

After the root canal treatment, make sure you follow the dentist’s instructions which include avoiding eating hard or chewing foods. If you notice any abnormality or still have pain, contact our dentist immediately for an assessment.

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