A root canal will save your tooth that would otherwise need extracting; the procedure doesn’t involve any more pain than filling a cavity.
Let’s break down some of the myths surrounding the root canal, a true tooth saver!
What is a root canal?
Understanding what is involved with a root canal helps to know the anatomy of a tooth. A tooth has an outer layer, the enamel, which covers the entire visible portion of the tooth. Beneath the enamel is another hard layer, called the dentin. Inside the dentin is the pulp. The pulp is the interior of the tooth, where you’ll find the blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. The pulp extends from the crown of the tooth (the part above the gumline) down the tip of the roots. Whether due to decay, a deep crack, large fillings, or even trauma, the pulp can become infected or inflamed. Saving it will require cleaning out the pulp chamber all the way into the roots-a root canal.
Why do I need a root canal?
When the pulp of a tooth becomes infected or inflamed you will need a root canal. Some symptoms can include being very sensitive to hot and cold, to biting, even t o a gust of cold winter Montreal air. The gums may be swollen. The tooth may become discolored. The pain can be intense. This is probably the root of the misconceptions about a root canal. The root canal pain isn’t the cause. The cause of your pain is the infection. In some cases, the patient won’t have any idea there is a problem, but an x-ray will show it. This is another important reason for your hygiene appointment with Dr. Slepchik.
Should you choose not to have your tooth treated at this point, your infected tooth may develop an abscess, a piss-filled pocket that extends up the roots of the tooth. This may lead to tooth loss and replacement with a dental implant or bridge.
What are the symptoms that my tooth is infected?
When the infection reaches the pulp of the tooth things can get ugly. Here are the symptoms associated with an infected tooth needing a root canal that you may experience:
- Intense pain
- Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold
- Tenderness to the touch and when chewing
- Discoloration of the tooth
- Swelling or tenderness of the surrounding gum tissue
- Persistent pimples on the gums
How does Dr. Slepchik perform a root canal?
Root canals with Dr. Slepchik usually require one appointment. During your appointment, Dr. Slepchik first freezes the tooth and surrounding tissues by using The Wand and Dental Vibe for the gentlest anesthetic appointment you will experience. If you’re nervous about it, we’ll provide sedation to ease your anxiety. Dr. Slepchik will then clean out the roots of your tooth. In order to protect your now vulnerable tooth, Dr. Slepchik recommends replacing your tooth with a crown that will protect it, provide strength, and return normal function.
When starting the work on your crown, we take impressions of the tooth with Itero and send them to our dental lab to fabricate the crown. We use Emax for our porcelain crowns, both for its beauty and strength. When your Emax crown is finished, you will return to our office and Dr. Slepchik will permanently cement the crown onto your tooth. Now with proper ongoing oral hygiene, you can keep the natural tooth and its crown, for many, many years. It’s always a better option to keep a natural tooth in place whenever possible.
Is a root canal really painful?
This is one of the biggest misconceptions in the dental world. Patients have long associated the pain they feel caused by the infection raging in their tooth with the procedure to address the infection, the root canal. Thanks to modern anesthesia and methods, you’ll feel nothing while Dr. Slepchik cleans out your tooth, fills it, and seals the opening. You’ll feel next to nothing when he places the crown atop the tooth. Afterward, you might have some mild aching; this is often due to having your mouth open for a period of time during the procedure. Also, if the infection had inflamed the surrounding tissues, it may take a couple of days to calm down. But this is not acute, sharp pain. It is easily manageable with over-the-counter pain medication. You need to remember the goal of a root canal to remove all the tissue from the pulp chamber inside your tooth. Dr. Slepchik removes all the blood vessels, nerve fibers, and connective tissues from the tooth, creating a sterile, empty environment. He then fills the clean, empty chamber with gutta-percha. The tooth now cannot feel anything, as it no longer has any nerves.
What are the benefits of having a root canal?
Dr. Slepchik likes to think of root canals as “tooth lifesavers” because they enable a patient to keep a tooth that would otherwise eventually need to be extracted. Once the infection has entered the interior of your tooth, if you don’t have a root canal you will lose the tooth. Not addressing the infection in the tooth is dangerous to your overall health. Studies have shown that tooth infections can spread throughout the body, even affecting your heart. It also can lead to loss of the tooth which will need replacement with an implant or a dental bridge.
How long after having a root canal can I eat regular food?
There aren’t any restrictions on eating once we place the Emax crown on your tooth. You can resume normal activities and eat whatever you want. You may have some slight soreness in the area, but it is easily manageable and will resolve in just a day or so.