You have just gone to the dentist and they gave you some bad news. That toothache you had was not just a cavity. You need root canal surgery and you can’t help but be scared. There was a time when root canal surgery was painful and even dangerous, but nowadays root canals are done very quickly and crowns can often be made in the office while you wait. There are about 15 million root canals performed every year and the average dentist performs several procedures a week.
What is a Root Canal
Your teeth have three layers. The outer layer is enamel and it is rather thin, the next layer is comprised of dentin which makes up the better part of the tooth. The core of the tooth is made up of connective tissue, nerves and blood vessels. The third layer is called the pulp. A root canal is simply the process of cleaning out decay from the root and pulp completely. Sometimes they even remove the pulp of the tooth. This may sound dangerous, but it really isn’t because the tooth gets nourishment from the surrounding tissues.
Signs that you Might Need a Root Canal
If you have cracked your tooth in an accident, there is a good chance that you will need a root canal. If there has been damage from a previous filling or if you have a deep cavity, you may require the surgery. If your teeth are very sensitive to hot and cold, you may have a cavity. However, if tooth sensitivity is very severe, the pulp may be damaged and you may need a root canal. If your gums look darker than normal or if you have pimples on them, it may be indicative of a deep cavity.
Does a Root Canal Hurt?
Your dentist will numb your mouth before your root canal, just as they do before a filling, so you won’t feel much. Your mouth may be a bit sore for a few days after your surgery, but the pain should be fairly nominal. Your dentist will probably tell you to avoid crunchy or sticky foods for a few days after your surgery.
How Much Time Will it Take?
The surgery itself can take anywhere from one to three hours. You will continue to be numb for a few hours after the surgery, but you should be able to go about your day as you normally would.
Will I Need A Crown?
A dentist will almost always recommend a crown after you have had a root canal. Your tooth will be very weak and it is important to protect it from further damage. Some dental offices can make a crown while you wait. Other offices will send a mold of your tooth out to a laboratory where your crown will be made. If they use an outside laboratory, you will be provided with a temporary crown to wear while you wait for your new tooth. Getting fitted for the crown may take longer and be more uncomfortable than having the root canal surgery.
If you are in the Charlotte, NC area, Park Crossing Dentistry can take care of all of your family’s dental needs.