If you are at least 20, then you have probably heard about root canals. It is a dental procedure wherein the soft center of your tooth, also known as the pulp, is removed to save a decayed or infected tooth.
Nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues make up the pulp, which helps the tooth grow. Getting a root canal done is actually a common procedure, but a number of people do not really understand it. With that said, this article will discuss why root canal is done, consequences if it is overlooked, how to tell if you need one, the preparation and procedure, and recovery.
Why Root Canal is Done?
A root canal procedure is done when the pulp is irritated, inflamed, or infected. The most common reasons for this damage are:
- Deep decay because of untreated cavities
- Crack, chip, or large fillings in the tooth
- Too much stress on the tooth due to multiple dental procedures
- Injury to the face that collateralized the tooth (Even if there is no physical damage, the pulp may still have been harmed.)
Getting a root canal procedure in these instances is the best option because when the pulp is irritated, inflamed, or infected, it breaks apart and allows the presence of bacterias. These microorganisms can lead to an infection or abscessed tooth.
Infection may result in the following consequences:
- Swelling of the neck, head, and/or face
- Losing the bone around the root tip
- Drainage problems that go beyond the root. To propagate drainage into the gums, a hole may be made through the side of the tooth or the cheek if the drainage is into the skin.
- Abscessed Tooth – The formation of a pus-filled pocket at the end of the tooth roots. When this happens, it means that the infection has already spread through all the roots of the tooth.
It is important to note that damage may not always be seen with the naked eye. The crown of the tooth may remain intact even with the dead pulp. Because of that, removing the damaged pulp is the most appropriate course of action to salvage the structure of the tooth.
Signs That You Need A Root Canal
Given the grave consequences of overlooking a damaged pulp, we want to be able to tell when we would most likely need one. With that stated, here are the signs that you may need a root canal procedure:
- Sharp pain in your tooth when you chew or bite
- Occurrence of pimples on your gums
- Pain in the gums
- Swollen gums
- Darkened gums
- The tooth is sensitive to heat and/or cold is persistent
If you experience any of these symptoms, you will most likely need to get a root canal work. On the other hand, it is still necessary to get a professional diagnosis from your dentist before having any procedure done.
How To Prepare For A Root Canal Procedure
A root canal treatment is a surgical process, and you need to make adequate preparations to ensure that there will be no complications during your procedure. Here are the measures you need to take note of before undergoing the treatment:
- Check for infections because this can make even a painless procedure hurt. In cases that there is an infection, be sure to take antibiotics prescribed by your dentist.
- If the inflammation on your tooth is too much, your dentist may prescribe painkillers to reduce this. You are to take it a few hours before your procedure.
- Do not consume alcohol for at least 24 hours before your surgery. The alcohol can complicate your procedure by drying out your mouth. In addition to that, alcohol affects your recovery, so it is still not permissible even after the operation.
- Do not smoke before and after the procedure because it also prolongs your recovery time.
- Make sure to eat heavy before the treatment so that your body will have enough nutrients to recover. In addition, the anaesthetic will numb your mouth and thus make eating after a difficult process.
- It is a must that you get enough sleep before the procedure so that your body is not tired and will most likely recover faster.
The Process Of A Root Canal Procedure
A root canal procedure is performed by a dentist or endodontist, a dentist specializing in root canals. The first step in the treatment is injecting your tooth with anaesthesia. You may feel a slight burning sensation during this, but the rest of your operation will be painless. You will be awake during the entire process, but you will not feel a thing.
After it is confirmed that the anaesthesia is working, a small opening on the top of the tooth will be done to expose the damaged pulp. Then, it will be carefully removed and clean the canals of your tooth. It will also be coated with an antibiotic to prevent any infection from occurring.
Once all canals are cleaned and sanitized, the dentist or endodontist will fill the small opening with a temporary paste to prevent any postoperative damages. You will also be most likely prescribed with an antibiotic to facilitate recovery.
After undergoing a root canal procedure, you will feel that your mouth is numb. This will go away after a few hours, but you are free to go about your day even with it. For the days following your operation, your tooth will feel sensitive, but it can be eased with over-the-counter painkillers.
You should avoid chewing with the operated tooth until your temporary paste has been replaced with a permanent one. This is done to prevent breaking the fragile tooth and to keep the area clean from any infections. After the replacement has been done, you should be able to go back to your regular habits.
Just remember to take care of your teeth by brushing, flossing, and using a mouthwash. You should also schedule frequent visits to your dentist to monitor your dental health. With that said, we hope we were able to educate you on the basics of root canals.