At Atlanta Family Dentistry, we love root canals because they save teeth and get patients out of pain. Unfortunately, they have one of the worst reputations out of all the procedures done in dentistry. Read more to find out how this is an outdated and often inaccurate perception of a procedure that can treat a toothache and make sure that tooth stays in your mouth. If you think you may need a root canal, give us a call to schedule a consultation today:
What is a root canal?
“Root canal” can mean both a part of a tooth and a treatment for that tooth. The root canal is the inside of the tooth where the nerve and blood vessels are located. This area is also called the pulp of the tooth. If it becomes infected through a crack or cavity, it can cause extreme pain and can spread through the root of the tooth to the jaw and even to the rest of the body. Root canal treatment or root canal therapy is used to clear this infection.
The first part of a root canal treatment is getting you completely numb. After the tooth is fully asleep, the dentist creates a small hole through the chewing surface of the tooth with a drill and uses that hole to access the pulp of the tooth. Using a variety of instruments and disinfectant solutions, the infected pulp is completely disinfected and removed and replaced with a biocompatible filling material.
Depending on how bad your infection is, the dentist may put medicine in the tooth after the initial cleaning and complete the filling at a later date after your body has had a bit more time to clear the infection.
Does a root canal hurt?
In most cases, the pain you experience for a root canal should be minimal. Before we even touch an instrument to the tooth in question, your doctor will make sure you are fully numb in the area. After the numbing sets in, you may feel some vibration from the instruments but if at any point you begin to feel pain, we will add more anesthesia.
After the anesthesia wears off, it is normal for most patients to feel a little sore in the area that was treated, but usually a small dose of ibuprofen is able to take care of that pain. The soreness usually wears off within a couple of days.