While people try to take care of their teeth, things happen. Cavities can form and fillings can cover those. There are times when the decay gets worse and it gets down into the root and pulp of the tooth – which can cause pain and other symptoms. That’s when the dentist will determine if root canal therapy is needed.
This is not the scary thing that some people make it out to be. In fact l, it can be quite routine, with millions of them being performed a year, according to the American Association of Endodontics.
While these symptoms do not always appear or are caused by other things , they are something that patients should look out for and alert their dentist about so that it can be treated, whatever the cause may be:
- Really jarring tooth pain – This is what patients tend to remember and may be thinking about this rather than the actual root canal.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold drinks- While things like receding gums can cause this, it’s always best to have a dentist make a definitive diagnosis.
- A pimple-like bump – Patients may see this on their gums near where it hurts m.
- Tooth darkening
- Tenderness around the area of the tooth
One reason that the root canal one had several decades ago was so painful was because the anesthesia and dental technology was nowhere near as good as it is today. The field has made excellent strides in improving all aspects of this procedure and has made it no more painful than having a filling.
Other myths to know:
- The root canal is not time-consuming – it takes one or two visits.
- It doesn’t cause disease – this myth is based on very old and outdated research
- A root canal does not mean the loss of a tooth – a crown will protect it and if one practices good oral hygiene, then it will be fine.
- The root canal is a better option than pulling a tooth most of the time. Of course, there are exceptions.
- A root canal doesn’t mean the tooth is restored. Other work will be needed.
- A tooth doesn’t have to hurt to need a root canal. Dentists routinely find dead teeth during exams.
The Procedure Itself
The dentist will apply anesthetic to the affected tooth. This will numb the area and allow them to work without disturbing the patient. Some dentists do offer various levels of sedation dentistry but that should be discussed well beforehand.
Once the anesthesia has done its work, the dentist drills a hole in the tooth and winds up removing the pulp – which is the nerve that feels things like heat, cold, and pain. After that, the dentist seals up the hole with something called gutta-percha.
With the procedure having been done, it’s just a matter of having the protective crown put over it. That can require more visits since the dentist had to be sure that everything is covered properly. If not, then bacteria can get under and cause decay.
The numbness will wear off and people can resume eating normally after that, though there may be a bit of short discomfort.
Some people say that their tooth hurt for years after their root canal. Again, they more than likely had it done when the dental technology was quite different. That includes how securely the crown was secured then.
It’s important to monitor how one’s tooth feels after the procedure. If the crown feels loose or even possibly cracked, the patient should go back to the dentist immediately.
When it comes to root canal therapy, the staff at Acadia Dental and Dentures are quite skilled at doing them. They are more than happy to answer any questions – you can call the Hagerstown location at 301-797-2538 or their Frederick one at 301-662-1760.
Acadia Dental and Dentures
1303 Pennsylvania Ave.
Hagerstown, MD 21740
Phone: (301) 797-2538
490 Prospect Blvd.
Frederick, MD 21701
Phone: (301) 662-1760