If you have a damaged or decayed tooth that is left untreated, bacteria may get into the soft center, or pulp, causing an infection. If this happens, you may have extreme pain and discomfort, swelling, and more.
One of the most convenient dental procedures used to address this problem is root canal therapy. In fact, according to the American Association of Endodontics, more than 41,000 are performed every day- which means there are 15 million performed every year.
The team at Parkway Dental Care has the experience and expertise to successfully perform root canals and many other dental procedures. In this article, we'll explain what you should know about root canals, including how long does root canal take.
A root canal is a procedure that involves the removal of the infected tooth pulp. The pulp is made up of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues. The space will then be disinfected and filled in. The tooth will then be sealed off with a composite resin filling or a crown. This gets rid of the infection while saving the structure of the natural tooth.
There are several signs that you may need a root canal, including:
A root canal is performed in the office. We start by administering a local anesthetic to numb the area. You will be conscious during the procedure, but you should not feel any pain. If you do require sedation, make sure to discuss that during your consultation and we will include it in your treatment plan. This will allow you to sleep through the procedure.
Once the area is numb, we will make a small hole in the tooth to remove the damaged pulp. When the pulp has been removed, an antibiotic will be applied to ensure the infection is gone and will not return. The tooth will then be filled with a rubbery, biocompatible material known as gutta-percha.
The tooth will then be sealed with either a composite resin filling or a crown. A crown may take up to 2 weeks, so a temporary filling/crown will be placed. You will be given a prescription for antibiotics to be sure that the infection will not come back.
Prior to the procedure, the dentist will administer local anesthesia. This will numb the area so that you do not feel any pain. You may feel some pressure as we work. If you have dental anxiety, we do offer sedation. You will want to make sure to discuss this at your consultation appointment so that we can include it in your treatment plan.
Later, as the anesthesia wears off, you may have some minor discomfort. However, this will subside. If you do have significant pain, please contact the clinic so that we can have you come in and we can find out what is causing it.
Root canal treatment can take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes to complete, depending on a few factors including the location of the tooth. In most cases, multiple appointments are required to complete the procedure.
Many patients opt to simply have the infected tooth extracted. While this may seem like the best idea, it may actually cost you more in the long run. Once the tooth is removed, you will need to consider tooth restoration options to avoid additional issues such as tooth loss, shifting, etc.
If you have an infected tooth that you think may need a root canal, schedule your consultation at Parkway Dental Care. Our dentists have the experience and expertise to perform a variety of dental procedures, including root canal therapy.
If you have questions or concerns about root canal therapy and other dental procedures, we are happy to address those. Below are answers to some of the most common questions we get at Parkway Dental Care.
Ideally, you should wait at least a few hours after your treatment before eating. This will give the anesthesia time to wear off. If you try to eat while your mouth is still numb, you may end up biting your tongue or cheeks or burning your mouth if the food you eat is too hot. You may also cause damage to the temporary filling/crown if you eat too soon.
When you do eat, you'll want to start with soft foods and advance as you feel like you can.
In general, smoking is not good for your oral and overall health. However, if you must smoke, there are no rules that state exactly when you can smoke. Ideally, you should probably wait until the numbness has worn off. Keep in mind though, that smoking after a root canal increases your risk of complications and also increases your risk of additional root canal procedures.
As a general rule, though you may feel some discomfort, you should be able to drive just fine following root canal therapy. On the other hand, if you require sedation for the procedure, you'll want to have someone with you that can drive you home.
Root canal infections are not common- but they may happen. There are several signs that you may have a root canal infection, including:
While root canal therapy is generally safe for pregnant women, many clinicians will recommend that you wait until after delivery to undergo treatment.