Root canals aren’t the kind of thing most people look forward to so you’ve likely never heard someone say, “I can’t wait to get a root canal!” But modern dentistry makes the procedure much less dreadful than it once was, and may be the best way to save your tooth.
At Nobel Dentistry, Dr. Abraham Nobel and his team want you to enjoy stellar oral health and experience the least pain possible. Root canals can often help accomplish both aims by alleviating the cause of your problem and protecting your tooth.
Common reasons for root canals
When you have a root canal, the use and integrity of your tooth are restored. When you have an infection or your tooth is damaged, you have pain and probably can’t use your tooth without making the pain worse.
During a root canal, Dr. Nobel removes the inner part of your tooth, called the pulp. The pulp contains the nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels that help your tooth grow and develop properly. He also removes the infected tissue causing your problem.
Once the infected tissue is out, he thoroughly cleans the area and fills it with a rubbery dental compound called gutta-percha. Once he completes this process, your pain is gone, and the top portion of your tooth, the crown, is intact and usable.
Some common reasons you may need a root canal include:
- A chipped or cracked tooth
- Multiple previous dental procedures
- Trauma, such as a blow that damages your tooth
Depending on your situation, Dr. Nobel may suggest a crown on the tooth to further protect it. Artificial crowns look like your other teeth and are custom made, so the size, color, and shape make them unnoticeable and fully functional.
What to expect during a root canal
Your root canal is an in-office procedure, and we begin by numbing your mouth with a topical gel, then an injection of a local anesthetic. These steps keep you comfortable during the root canal.
If you have dental anxiety or specific concerns about the procedure, talk to our staff beforehand. We may be able to make suggestions for things that can help you feel more relaxed during your appointment.
When your mouth is numb, Dr. Nobel makes a small opening in your tooth to access the damaged pulp. He removes it, cleans the area, and coats it with an antibiotic to prevent further infection. Then he fills the emptied space with gutta-percha.
Next, Dr. Nobel closes the opening he made with a temporary filling to protect it and prevent food or saliva from getting in it. After a few days, you come in for a follow-up appointment that includes X-rays to make sure the root canal effectively eliminates the infection. Dr. Nobel either makes a permanent filling or fits you for a crown during this follow-up appointment.
Most people report that a root canal is no more or less bothersome or painful than a filling and that they can return to their normal activities the next day. Pain is usually minimal and subsides with over-the-counter medication.
With an excellent dental hygiene routine at home and regular visits for professional care, you should expect your root canal to last a lifetime.
Don’t ignore your tooth pain. We’re here to help, and getting care sooner is better. Schedule your appointment at Nobel Dentistry today.