Root Canal Procedure FAQ
When teeth become severely infected or damaged, your dentist might recommend a root canal as a long-term remedy.
This treatment entails cleaning the inside cavern of the tooth after your dentist takes out the pulp and nerve. Due to the extensive nature of this procedure, it can be quite painful. Furthermore, there are small nerve endings throughout the dentin that will inform you if your tooth is decaying, or some other foreign matter has penetrated the tooth's outer enamel. This pain is actually a good thing because it tells you to pay a visit to your dentist asap to have the issue remedied before it gets worse.
However, the persistent pain of having an active infection should cease within a few weeks of the procedure. In other words, having a root canal is the lesser of two evils.
If left unchecked or unresolved, the tooth becomes vulnerable to further infection and disease. The body will continue to destroy and rebuild the area, attaching to the tissues around it. This can lead to the onset of abscesses and even more serious medical issues like gum disease if the infection is not managed properly.
That being said, here are some other essential things you might be wondering when it comes to root canal therapy.
What indicates that you need to have a Root Canal?
The roots of your teeth are home to soft tissue and pulp. When you notice inflammation around that area, you should seek endodontic treatment as quickly as possible.
Pain may accompany swelling, as well as an array of annoying but significant symptoms. But these strange symptoms won't always appear in a timely manner.
It is very possible to feel fine one day and completely overcome with pain and nausea the following day.
Other red flags include:
• Darkening or discoloration of the tooth.
• Excruciating toothaches during chewing or biting.
• Persistent pimples on the gums.
• Oversensitivity to cold or hot fluids and foods.
• Uncomfortable gum tenderness.
If you suspect that something might be off, it’s best to visit a dentist to get the situation under control.
How much does a root canal procedure cost?
The final figure depends on the tooth in question.
If you’re talking about molars which require a more comprehensive approach, you’ll pay more compared to incisors. The recovery is also a bit more intense. Nonetheless, the total procedural cost is quite low. Regardless of the tooth type, a root canal is still considerably cheaper than it's alternative - tooth extraction.
The latter requires your dentist to use bridges or implants to prevent the teeth around the vacant area where the tooth is removed from shifting. Hence, it takes longer and it's more expensive.
Is a root canal procedure painful?
The majority of patients attest to feeling no discomfort or pain during treatment. This is largely due to the use of anesthetics, advanced techniques, and modern equipment.
In fact, this procedure will provide pain relief from pulp infections and inflammation as well. This is because your dentist is treating the source of your pain, and removing the problem altogether. Like most surgeries, the pain you'll feel afterward may be caused by stitches, bruising, bleeding, etc. You shouldn't feel the pain of the infection any longer.
For post-procedural care, prescription or OTC medication will keep sensitivity and pain in check for the first couple of days. After that, many patients feel fully recovered, while others choose to eat a soft diet and use pain killers for a couple more weeks.
What is the success rate of root canals?
A root canal procedure is typically foolproof.
It guarantees immediate results for most patients, almost 100% of the time. This procedure proves to have a positive outcome in 95 out of 100 patients, providing a long-term solution that often lasts a lifetime. Similar to have an infected nail removed, it treats the cause of pain and discomfort. Once healed, the patient has a fresh start and there is no risk of a blood infection, further inflammation or decay. The only time a root canal won't solve the problem is if your dentist fails to remove the infection in its entirety.
However, this is very uncommon and typically correlates with the oral surgeon's experience. It's best to see a dentist that has been around for a long time to ensure success with this procedure.
What’s more, no one will notice you had the procedure done if that’s something that concerns you. A filling or crown restoration will be performed afterward, and your tooth will look perfectly normal. It should function normally, and last you the rest of your life.
Is there any special care needed?
There may be a delay between your root canal procedure and a filling or crown restoration. If this happens, chewing and biting are off the table before your tooth restoration is complete.
In other words, unrestored teeth are susceptible to infection and can easily break. This complicates the matter even further, and it's best to eat a liquid diet until your dentist gives the go-ahead on solid foods.
Once a full restoration is complete, there’s usually little else to worry about. Other than following proper hygiene practices, your teeth are ready for a normal life again. That means regular flossing, brushing, and checkups should keep your teeth in good health with minimal pain or side effects following recovery.
However, your dentist might recommend that you avoid eating for a while after your root canal. Until you regain full mouth sensitivity it's often recommended that you avoid solids to keep from injuring your tongue or cheeks. Additionally, you may also be advised to steer clear of hot foods, or very hard foods for some time. Instead, add more soft meals into your diet like fish, eggs, mashed potatoes, and soups.
If your tooth or gums have been nagging you lately, be sure to schedule a dentist appointment to nip the problem in the bud. This will protect you from developing something worse. It will also give you peace of mind in the process. If not, you still need to make at least two trips to your dentist each year for good measure.