According to the American Association for Endodontics, more than 15 million root canals are performed annually in the United States. If you have recently been prescribed root canal treatment, you may be wondering what to expect.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal treatment saves the tooth by removing the dental pulp from the roots. The success rate for primary root canal treatment is 86%, and can save your natural tooth from extraction. A tooth treated with root canal therapy can last a lifetime with an effective at-home oral hygiene routine and regular dental checkups and hygiene cleanings.
If you leave the infected tooth untreated, you may experience bone loss around the tooth, facial swelling, and drainage from the hole in your tooth to your gums, leading to more complications.
The Root Canal Procedure
Root canal treatment is one of the most common restorative dental procedures and can be performed by a dentist or an endodontist. Sometimes, your general dentist may refer you to an endodontist who specializes in endodontic treatment. Dr. Owens performs root canal treatment in-house, ensuring your comfort throughout the procedure. The number of visits can range from 1-4, and a typical visit takes 30-90 minutes.
After taking X-rays of the infected tooth, your dentist begins by numbing the area with a local anesthetic. Next, your dentist places a rubber dam over your mouth to isolate the infected tooth.
Your dentist uses a drill to remove the decay and the infected pulp from the inner tooth chamber before using endodontic files to remove anything remaining inside the roots of the tooth. They then disinfect the tooth before sealing the tooth with gutta percha. You will receive a temporary filling to restore the tooth’s crown.
Most root canals require a dental crown to restore the tooth’s function, integrity, and appearance. This is typically done at a subsequent appointment within 30 days of the root canal treatment.
What to Expect Post Procedure
Modern dentistry techniques and equipment have made the root canal procedure straightforward and comfortable. But you may experience some discomfort once the anesthetic wears off.
Depending on the complexity of your root canal treatment, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection and painkillers to alleviate any discomfort and swelling. In most cases over the counter pain medications are sufficient.
For the first few days following the root canal procedure, avoid chewing on the side of the mouth that was treated and eat a diet of soft foods like oatmeal, soup, and smoothies.
Typically your dentist will ask you to return so they can check the tooth before installing the dental crown. Your tooth will be prepped, and an impression of the tooth will be sent to a lab so your dental crown can be fabricated. Once your crown is ready, it will be installed to restore your tooth to full functionality.
Contact Owens Cosmetic and Family Dentistry
If you are experiencing a toothache and suspect you may need a root canal, contact our office today to schedule a dental exam. Routine checkups are essential to your oral health and allow your dentist to detect minor dental issues before they become more invasive.