A root canal treatment is designed to eliminate bacteria from an infected or damaged tooth root canal to prevent further infection and save the current tooth. The goal is to remove all bacteria and seal the nerve system to prevent further bacteria growth.
Root Canal Explained
Teeth have a system of nerves in their roots, commonly organized into one or more canals (i.e., the tooth nerves sit in the tooth’s root canals). Often, damaged or dead nerves are painless but can become infected. Nerve damage is commonly diagnosed by an inability to feel temperature or electrical stimulation and/or sensitivity to biting and finger pressure- just to name a few. If you have nerve damage in any capacity, your dentist may need to assess your gum condition and take a few x-rays.
3 Things You Need to Know About a Root Canal
1. Just because you don’t have pain, doesn’t mean you don’t need a root canal
With an infection of a tooth’s pulp, it may be painful at first. However, once the pulp starts to die and the infection progresses usually the pain starts to subside- weird right?! Just because there is less pain in your tooth, doesn’t mean you are healed. In fact, you may experience other symptoms such as oozing or face swelling.
2. Antibiotics aren’t always the ‘magic solution’
While antibiotics may help with the infection, for the time being, it doesn’t completely solve the issue of a damaged or infected pulp. Antibiotics work by reaching the site of the infection through your blood and mislead patients to think their tooth is fixed. However, because of where the bacteria lies in the root canal system, antibiotics can’t reach where the infection is located.
3. A root canal procedure isn’t something to worry about
Many patients, like myself, stress and worry about an invasive oral procedure. However, a root canal is designed to alleviate pain, not cause it. Before the root canal procedure, your dentist will administer a local anesthetic to numb the tooth and surrounding area. The entire procedure shouldn’t cause too much pain or discomfort- think of it as a cavity filling! If you don’t trust your doctor or would like a second opinion, contact NoBull Dental to find a qualified dentist to fit your needs and values.
Remember, protect your smile and visit your dentist bi-yearly. While we all don’t enjoy sitting in a dental chair, visiting the dentist regularly is a preventative measure that could save you time, money and hassle in the long run.
Did you know?
A fast root canal is not always a good root canal because time is needed to properly clean and disinfect the nerve system. Ask your provider how long they soaked the canal system.
The use of a CBCT (cone beam, CT), microscope, and gentlewave are examples of advanced technology that can help a dentist better understand and clean the anatomy of a root canal system.
A painless root canal procedure or one that alleviates pain does not necessarily mean the procedure was done well or that the long terms success will be high.
Tooth pain does not necessarily mean that a root canal is needed. For example, many teeth that are broken or fractured may simply need a crown and NOT a root canal.
Posterior teeth that have root canals should be crowned to prevent fracture. HOWEVER, teeth that have crowns do not necessarily need root canals.
Once a root canal has been done on a tooth, if it becomes re-infected, it will often not have pain. A re-infected tooth often goes unnoticed by the patient until the infection grows to be quite large.
Teeth that have had root canals done very well are often reported to feel “strange” for up to a year. This is especially true when pain was reported prior to a root canal.
Root canals themselves, except in very unusual circumstances, should be PAINLESS. Pain most people associate with root canals is due to pain BEFORE the root canal.
Poster teeth that have root canals should be crowned, however, the posterior teeth that have crowns, do not necessarily need root canals.
X-rays very often cannot be used to determine if a root canal is needed.
How well a tooth is restored after a root canal can influence, as much or more than the root canal itself, the success of a root canal.
Be sure the restoration that seals the root canal system has been completed done.
The legal standard of care for root canals is higher for an endodontist than a general dentist. This should be considered when selecting a provider.
- Why do I need a root canal?
- Why does my root canal need to be redone?
- How long do root canals last?
- What determines the success of a root canal?
- Should a general dentist do root canals?
- Are root canals painful?
- Does a crown need a root canal?
- Does a root canal need a crown?
- How do I know if my root canal was done well?
- Who should I see for a root canal?
- Can a general dentist do a root canal?
- Why should I see an endodontist?
- Do I need to be in pain in order to need a root canal?
- What should I know about a root canal?
- Are root canals painful?
- What does a root canal feel like?