If your dentist has recommended you have a root canal done, you are most likely a bit anxious about what the procedure involves. In the past, the procedure of having a root canal was associated with a great deal of pain, giving the process a bad reputation as a result. Today, the medications used to block pain and relieve pain when the procedure is done, do a better job at masking pain. Here is a summary about what a root canal does, how it is done, and how to relieve pain when it is over.
What Does A Root Canal Do?
Your teeth are held into place via roots. If the pulp around a root becomes infected, the root loosens, causing the possibility of tooth loss. A root canal is when the pulp portion around the root is removed and replaced with a similar material so the root stays intact. The pulp becomes infected when an abundance of bacteria is present on the tooth or under the gums. This is often the result of gum disease, having too much dental work done on one area of the mouth, or from having tooth decay.
What Happens During A Root Canal Procedure?
You will have anesthesia administered so you will not feel any pain at all during a root canal procedure. Your dentist will place a piece of vinyl sheeting over your mouth. The affected tooth will be pushed through the vinyl so it is separated from the rest of your teeth, allowing for a sterile environment while your dentist works on the root area of the tooth.
Your dentist will drill a small hole in back of the affected tooth, exposing the root and pulp. The infected pulp will be removed and the area will be flushed with an antiseptic solution to remove all bacteria. Your dentist will then push a rubber-like material into the exposed area to replace the pulp that was removed. A sealant will be added over this material to help keep bacteria from re-entering the area. A temporary filling is placed over the hole as you heal.
Healing From A Root Canal Procedure
After the root canal is completed, you will be given medication to help relieve pain as you heal. You will most likely also be given antibiotics to take for several days. You will be limited to eating soft foods while your tooth heals. After a week or two, your dentist will check the area to make sure there is no infection present. When it appears to be healed properly, a crown or a permanent filling will be placed over the tooth to cover the hole where the dentist removed the infected pulp. Contact a dentist, like Baker Allan DDS, with further questions.