What is a Root Canal?
Root canal treatment is a procedure used to treat an inflamed or infected root canal, i.e., the innermost part of the tooth containing the pulp tissues and the nerves responsible for hot/cold sensation. Root canal treatment is necessary when the soft tissues and nerves within the root canal are inflamed or infected due to bacterial accumulation. The procedure involves drilling into the affected tooth to access the root canal, removing all the infected tissues, filling it up, and restoring optimal dental health. Root canals are necessary when the bacterial infection has spread into the pulp chamber, and there’s no other way to prevent complete dental decay.
Fast Facts about Root Canals
- Over 41,000 root canals are performed every day.
- Approximately 89% of all patients are happy with their root canals.
- Approximately 50% of all root canal treatments are referred to as endodontists.
- Most dental experts believe endodontists, i.e., dentists who perform root canals, are an essential part of dental healthcare.
- You may need a root canal treatment even if your symptoms seem to be subsiding.
- Root canals eliminate pain from dental infections.
- Root canals prevent the infection from spreading further, restoring dental health.
- You can save lots of time, money, and anxiety with early root canals.
- If left untreated, you may eventually need a tooth extraction.
Root Canal Symptoms
The following symptoms indicate that you need a root canal:
- Severe toothaches that don’t go away.
- The toothache penetrates deep within your bone structure.
- Pimple formations on the gums.
- Pain while biting or chewing.
- Formation of cracks on the teeth.
- Sensitivity to hot/cold temperatures.
- Swollen gums.
- Tender gums.
- Dental decay.
- Darkened or discolored gums.
During your initial consultation, the dentist or endodontist examines your teeth, gums, and general dental structures to look for signs of infection. They also run dental x-rays to identify infections, allowing them to curate the ideal treatment plan. During the procedure, the dentist administers local anesthesia around the infected tooth to numb all sensation. They drill an access hole into your tooth to access the infected pulp chamber, from which they remove all the infected pulp tissues and dead nerves. Once the infected tissues and nerves have been removed, they clean the root canal using special files and apply disinfectants to clear away the infection. Next, most dentists place temporary fillings and ask you to return in a week to ensure the infection is no longer present. During the next session, they examine the tooth to ensure the infection has cleared away, place a special filling material called gutta-percha, and seal the access hole. You should also get a dental crown to protect the weakened tooth from damage. If the dentist didn’t take the impressions in the previous session, they’ll take it during the second session and ask you to return for a final session for the dental crown.
How Long Does a Root Canal Take?
The average duration of a root canal treatment is 30 to 60 minutes long, though special cases may also take up to 90 minutes. Depending on your unique situation and the dentist’s preferred treatment plan, you may need 1-3 sessions.
Root Canal Recovery Time
A root canal is a simple and out-patient procedure with no downtime. Your teeth and gums will be numb for about 2 to 4 hours after the treatment, and you’ll have to take certain pain medications to avoid discomfort. But you can resume most of your regular activities, including work and school immediately after the procedure.
Root Canal Recovery Complications
Root canals have a nearly perfect track record with an extremely low risk of complications following the treatment. However, in rare cases, you may experience the following root canal recovery complications:
- Continued dental infection if some of the bacteria have spread to the surrounding teeth or gums.
- The dental filling or seal break away.
- The dental root structure develops cracks.
Does a Root Canal Hurt?
The root canal procedure doesn’t cause any pain or discomfort because you’ll be given anesthesia. The procedure doesn’t cause any more discomfort than a simple dental filling. However, you may experience mild pain and discomfort for the next few days, but that’s easily managed with pain medications.
How to Prevent a Root Canal?
- Brush at least twice a day.
- Replace your toothbrush every six months.
- Floss once a day.
- Rinse your mouth with antibacterial wash once a day.
- Avoid hard or sweet foods, like candies, lollipops, caramel, etc.
- Avoid eating crunchy food if you have weak teeth.
- Don’t chew ice or other hard objects.
- Wear a mouthguard at night if you experience the symptoms of nighttime teeth grinding.
- Wear a mouthguard while playing contact sports.
- Avoid acidic drinks and fruit juices.
- Go for teeth cleanings once every six months.
- Go for dental exams once every year.
- If there’s any toothache, consult a dentist immediately.
- Fill all dental cavities as soon as they appear.
- Follow the dentist’s recommendations regarding dental treatment.
Root canals are essential treatments that serve as the last line of defense against bacterial infections. If left untreated, an infected or abscessed tooth may eventually need to be extracted. The root canal procedure is completely safe and painless, and it involves the dentist removing all the pulp tissues and dead nerves from your tooth to restore optimal dental health. The recovery time for a root canal treatment is negligible — you may have some numbness for a few hours, but you can immediately resume all your normal activities. URBN Dental is one of the best dental clinics for root canals in Houston, Texas. For more information, please schedule your root canal treatment at our dental clinic today.