So you've just found out that you need a root canal. Feeling a little anxious or curious about what to expect is entirely normal, but this procedure is certainly nothing you should fear. In fact, this is a treatment to embrace, because it saves countless teeth every day.
Nancy Horton, DMD, of OneSource Dental of South Tampa in Tampa, Florida, is an expert in providing root canals. In this blog, she explains why root canals are needed and how these procedures are performed.
In the middle of your teeth are connective tissues, nerves, and blood vessels. This material is called the pulp. If a tooth gets a severe cavity or sustains other types of damage, this can cause the pulp to get infected.
If this happens, it’s critical to remove the pulp, because if it’s left untreated, the infection can cause pain, spread to surrounding tissues, and cause complications, such as abscesses and even bone loss.
This is where a root canal comes in. With this procedure, your provider removes the pulp and reinforces the tooth.
Now that we've covered the reasons for a root canal, let's dive into the details of the procedure.
First, your provider examines your tooth, takes X-rays, and discusses the treatment plan with you. Then, your provider administers local anesthetic to numb the area around the affected tooth.
Next, your provider drills a small hole in your tooth to access the pulp chamber and, using special instruments, removes the infected or damaged pulp. Then, your provider cleans the pulp chamber, fills it with a rubber material, and places a filling in the access hole to seal the tooth.
For the final step, your provider will likely place a crown on your tooth to protect and reinforce it.
It's normal to experience some discomfort or sensitivity in the treated area for a few days, but you should be able to treat these issues with over-the-counter pain relievers. You can also use an ice pack to relieve any pain or swelling.
When it comes to eating, you should try to eat soft foods for a few days and avoid eating hard, crunchy, or sticky foods. And, you should brush and floss gently around the treated area to avoid disrupting the healing process.
You should also rinse your mouth with warm salt water a couple of times a day to help prevent infection and reduce inflammation. And, you should avoid using straws until the tooth heals, because the pressure could affect the healing process.
Do know, though, that you won’t be on your own when it comes to aftercare. Your provider will give you aftercare instructions and check your progress during follow-up appointments.
If you need a root canal, there’s nothing to be worried about. To get the care you need, call 813-879-9299 or book an appointment online with OneSource Dental of South Tampa today.