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There’s Nothing To Fear: Root Canals Demystified

There’s Nothing To Fear: Root Canals Demystified

Most people hear “root canal” and get nervous. In the past, those feelings of trepidation were justified because the technology and tools for root canals were crude, and anesthetics could only do so much.

These days, there’s nothing to worry about. The procedure is similar to a routine filling in terms of pain and discomfort.

Modern dentistry has come a long way toward making the whole experience of a root canal treatment more tolerable. In the hands of a great dentist, anesthetics and advanced dental tech make root canals relatively painless. 

Modern tools also make the process less invasive than ever before. That means less time working and less damage to your mouth. Your recovery from a root canal will be faster than ever before.  

Typically, root canal recovery time lasts less than a week (usually a few days). You’ll probably feel mild discomfort for a few days, but the pain can be managed with medication if necessary. 

With that said, let’s take a closer look at what a root canal is, when/if you need one, and how to keep your teeth as healthy as possible after a root canal.

 

What Exactly is a Root Canal and Root Canal Treatment?

Each one of your teeth has roots that penetrate into your gums. Roots anchor your teeth to your gums.

In your roots, there is a hollow tube (a canal) that is filled with a substance called pulp.  Pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue that helps grow the root of your tooth during its development. 

The pulp in your roots can get infected. When that happens, it causes pain and increased sensitivity to heat and cold. These infections create abscesses that can cause further damage to surrounding teeth.  

A root canal treatment aims to eliminate bacteria from an infected root canal, prevent reinfection of the tooth and allow you to preserve the natural tooth. 

During the procedure, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed. Then, the canal is carefully cleaned and disinfected. Finally, the canal is filled and sealed to preserve your tooth.

 

How Do I Know If I Need A Root Canal?

You generally need a root canal when you notice your teeth are sensitive, particularly to hot and cold sensations. Root canals are also sometimes needed for a cracked tooth, a deep cavity, or issues from a previous filling.  

If you feel that you might need a root canal, check with a qualified dentist who can determine what’s best for your particular situation.

Be aware that genetics plays a role in root canal infections. Some people have teeth with root canals that are more susceptible to infection. These people will generally need root canals at some point regardless of their habits and dental hygiene.

Here are a few symptoms that indicate you might need a root canal:

  • Severe pain while chewing or biting
  • Pimples on the gums
  • A chipped or cracked tooth
  • Lingering sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Deep decay or darkening of the gums

What Should I Do To Keep My Teeth Healthy After My Root Canal?

Practice good oral hygiene after a root canal:

  • Brush twice daily
  • Floss once a day
  • Keep regular appointments for cleanings and checkups

Make sure to schedule a follow-up visit with your dentist to make sure that everything has healed as it should. 

A good oral hygiene routine will help you maintain healthy teeth and gums after your root canal. 

 

 

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