What Is a Root Canal?

If you have been experiencing a combination of pain, prolonged sensitivity, feel tenderness when you chew, show signs of swelling or have severe tooth discoloration – there is a chance you may need a root canal. However, there have been cases where no symptoms show at all! Make sure to keep up with your regular dental check ups to make sure you aren’t in need of an emergency root canal.

A woman is smiling while being at the dentist.

Root canals are referred to as an endodontic treatment. This procedure is necessary when the soft tissue inside your tooth’s root canal (known as pulp), becomes inflamed or infected. Inflammation or infection occurs for a variety or reasons such as:

  • Deep Decay
  • Repeated Dental Procedures
  • Cracked or Chipped Tooth
  • Injury to a tooth may also cause pulp damage

If left untreated, pulp inflammation or infection, can cause serious pain or worse – lead to abscesses.

Are Root Canals Painful?

Root canals may seem very scary and painful, but thanks to modern techniques and anesthetics, most patients report feeling surprisingly comfortable during the procedure. Having the root of your tooth (the pulp) inflamed or irritated normally causes patients serious pain as it is. the longer this is left untreated, the worse the pain may get. Root canals are meant to relieve you from the pain you are already in.

 

It is normal to feel tooth sensitivity after the first few days after the procedure, especially if you experienced pain and had an infection before the root canal began. Over-the-counter or prescription medications are available to relieve this discomfort. Be sure to speak to your endodontist about your medication options.

 

Your may notice your treated tooth feel slightly different from your other teeth. this is normal and you may experience this weird sensation for some time after your endodontic treatment is completed.

Please call your endodontist immediately if you experience: severe pain, intense pressure, or pain that lasts more than a approximately three days.

Special Care / Additional Treatments

An unrestored tooth is susceptible to fracture. It is highly recommended you see your dentist for a full restoration as soon as possible. You should avoid using a treated teeth for chewing or biting  until it is restored by your dentist.

Otherwise, after a root canal you are only required to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing, flossing, regular checkups, and following up with cleanings.

Endodontically treated teeth typically last as long as your other natural teeth. Few cases have reported scenarios where a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment does not heal or the pain continues. The tooth may become painful or diseased over time after successful treatment. This may not be noticed until month (even years) after your successful root canal. In cases when this occurs, the tooth has the opportunity to be saved by simply redoing the procedure.

Why Would I Need Additional Treatment?

New infection in your treated tooth may be caused by new trauma, deep decay, or a loose, cracked or broken filling. Leave this untreated puts you at risk for new infection in your tooth. In some cases, your endodontist may discover additional slim, narrow and curved canals that could not be treated during the initial procedure.