"My Tooth Has Been Hurting... What Should I Do?"
What Is A Root Canal and Do I Need One?
Root Canal Treatments, or RCTs, are popularly thought to be a grueling and painful ordeal faced by patients who have no other choice. The truth behind RCT’s is quite the opposite. In most cases, a root canal actually serves to relieve pain for patients and helps save a tooth that may have to be extracted otherwise. In the dental world, extraction is the absolute last resort, as there is no perfect replacement for your natural teeth.
Signs You May Need a Root Canal
- Lingering pain
- Hot or cold sensitivity
- Gum swelling
- Change in tooth color
What To Expect During A Root Canal Treatment
Your First Visit
- The first step of a root canal treatment is confirming that one is, in fact, necessary.
- This is done during a visit to your dentist, where images are taken to determine the condition of your tooth and surrounding tissues.
- A pulp vitality response may also be done. During this kind of test, temperature sensitivity is checked for by subjecting the pulp to cold. If a tooth does not respond appropriately, the chances are good that it is in need of a root canal.
Your Second Visit (If Necessary)
- Root canals can require one or two appointments, each requiring up to ninety minutes each.
- During these appointments, the tooth will be numbed in preparation for the treatment. The top of the tooth is then opened, and all of the pulp and infection is cleaned out of the tooth’s inner chamber.
- These internal structures, including the root canal, will be filled with a substance known as gutta-percha and sealed.
- The following appointment will be made sometime after a week to check and see if all is going well with the treatment.
Root Canal After Care
- Eat a soft diet during the temporary replacement
- Schedule regular dentist exams (every 6 months)
- Proper dental hygiene
- Yearly dental X-ray to ensure root health