Sometimes, teeth are damaged or infected. When this happens, something has to be done. One such procedure that is utilized in these instances is a root canal, which repairs or saves the injured tooth. The procedure itself involves the removal of the affected areas (the pulp), a thorough cleaning, and filling and resealing the area. The term is derived from the process of cleaning the canals within the root of the tooth. If you think you might need to get a root canal, you should understand the steps that will happen:
1. Your dentist will order an x-ray if she thinks you have a root canal
2. If a root canal is needed, then local anesthesia will be provided for the affected tooth.
3. In order for the disease tooth to be removed, a pulpectomy is performed.
4. The area is filled and sealed.
More than 40,000 root canals are administered in the U.S. every day. If a filling won’t save the day, then perhaps it is time for a root canal.
What about post-surgery?
Since a root canal is a fairly pedestrian procedure, and has very few complications, you can expect positive outcomes. Since the structure of your tooth is at stake, caring for the area post-surgery is vitally important. It should be noted that a after a root canal, the affected tooth can split or even fracture. As such, it is very important to care for the site after the surgery itself. After all, it the tooth were to fracture below the gum line, the tooth would have to be pulled.
So what kind of care do I need after a root canal?
If you need a root canal because of a damaged or diseased tooth, then there are a few things you can do to secure a more positive outcome, including:
* Reduce Stress on the Tooth. Your tooth remains unprotected until a crown is place. As such, you avoid any excess stress on the tooth, including chewing on that side of your mouth.
* Eat Soft Foods. This is just good surgery advice, but you want to make certain to eliminate hard or crunchy foods after getting a root canal. Damage to the temporary filling could result in the tooth breaking and the restarting of the process or losing the tooth).
* Gentle Brushing. Always use a soft-bristled brush. When cleaning the area, be careful with brushing or flossing to not irritate the tooth. Good oral hygiene is important with your temporary filling.
* Get Crown Placed. Since the interior of your tooth is removed during a root canal, the structure is noticeably weaker following the procedure. As such, a crown or cap is necessary to protect the tool. This is generally a secondary procedure following the root canal.
* Treat Discomfort as Needed. Pain relievers should be used to mitigate pain and discomfort. Fortunately, modern oral surgery means that you are unlikely to feel much pain. And pain that you would feel would be moderate and could easily be
handled with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If you happen to have intense pain or experience continued pain post-surgery, then it is important to alert your dentist, as it could be a serious problem.
What should I expect to happen after a root canal?
Following the completion of the root canal, subsequent visits will be about maintenance and continued treatment. Crowns are generally placed within weeks. As always, it is important to schedule and attend dentist visits, but more so following a root canal. Failing to allow your dentist to check on the progress could mean complications that could result infection or the loss of the tooth. You’ll want to exercise good oral hygiene by flossing and brushing daily, as well as using a therapeutic mouthwash to clean your mouth. In addition, a water flosser might help to keep the crowned tooth clean and mitigate any potential problems going forward.
Root canals are a routine surgery that can help you overcome painful or damaged teeth. The process is no more invasive or painful than repairing a cavity. Since the tooth is weak during the process, it is important to practice self-care and clean the area around the tooth, as well as remember to brush and floss daily.