Root Canal TherapyRoot canal therapy is a procedure where the inner part of the tooth is cleared out to prevent further infection.
Who Needs Root Canal Therapy?
Severe tooth infections that have penetrated the tooth into the inner part of the tooth can be a serious, painful, and potentially life-threatening situation. Root canal therapy prevents the infection from spreading to other teeth and is meant to save the already infected tooth. The dentist will also recommend the procedure be finished off with the addition of a crown to fortify the tooth and cover the hole that was created by the drill.
If the pulp of your tooth has been infected, inflamed, or injured, it could be for a number of reasons:
- Deep decay
- A crack chip in the tooth
- Dental Trauma
- Constant pulsating pain
- Pain when eating
- Sensitivity to temperature
- Swollen gums
- Facial swelling
- Darkening of the gums
- Damaged teeth
If the patient does not have the budget for root canal therapy, or their insurance does not cover it, they will need to extract the tooth.
How Do You Know If You Need Root Canal Therapy?
- Cold test
- Electric pulp test (EPT)
- Periodontal probing
- Percussion or “tapping”
- Palpation or “touching”
- Mobility test
- Bite test
- X-rays at various angles
What To Expect During A Root Canal Procedure?
Placing A Dental Dam
Removing The Pulp
Filling The Canals
Sealing The Tooth
Placing The Final Restoration
How Long Does A Root Canal Take?
When Is More Than One Appointment Required?
General dentists handle root canal procedures on a regular basis and can do them quite effectively. However, there can be complications that may make the procedure difficult. If a dentist feels that the procedure is out of their scope of experience, they will refer you to a specialist called an endodontist.
Root Canal Therapy Timeline
Day Of Procedure
The local anesthetic will numb any significant pain or discomfort you may feel during the operation. The dentist will most likely recommend you take OTC (over-the-counter) medication to reduce any pain or discomfort you may feel afterward. Using Ibuprofen (Advil) or Naproxen (Aleve) will significantly reduce any inflammation that was caused as a result of the procedure. You can also take acetaminophen (Tylenol) which will increase your body’s pain tolerance. Do not overuse these drugs as they can be damaging if taken in excess. Read the instructions on the bottle and take them as required.
In the first couple of days after the procedure, the affected area may still be tender and sensitive. It is best to stick to a soft food diet mostly consisting of yogurt, soup, and other easy-to-digest foods. Yogurt is a probiotic, so this will aid in recovery.
You should be feeling little or no pain at this point. You can start introducing your normal foods back into your diet, but you may want to stay away from hot or cold food or beverages.
If any pain or discomfort is significant at this point, you should call your dentist as the affected area should mostly be healed. Normally you should be able to start eating and drinking as you normally would.
Aftercare Tips For Faster Recovery
- You should avoid eating or drinking until the anesthetic has worn off to prevent any trauma.
- Don’t drink or smoke for 24-48 hours after recovery.
- Don’t chew with the treated tooth until it is fully restored with a crown.
- Brush and floss as normal, but be gentle with the treated tooth.
- Take Ibuprofen to reduce the swelling, which will help it to heal faster.
- If the pain worsens, or other symptoms start to develop, call you dentist.