A Guide to Root Canal Therapy

A Guide to Root Canal Therapy

Jul 01, 2021

The dental treatment performed to remove an infection from the inside of a tooth is referred to as root canal therapy. Root canal therapy helps to relieve pain and inflammation and lowers your risk of tooth loss. This outpatient procedure is commonly sought by individuals with severe tooth decay and those who’ve experienced traumatic injuries that have left them with diseased or inflamed dental pulp.

Root canal therapy is known by various other names, including root canal treatment, endodontic therapy, endodontic treatment, or simply root canals.

You may be a candidate for root canal treatment if you’re experiencing heightened tooth sensitivity, tooth discoloration, toothaches, and swollen gums. If you notice these symptoms, get in touch with Westwood Dental Group immediately. Failure to attend to a dental problem in a timely fashion increases your risk of suffering a dental emergency.

Is Root Canal Therapy Painful?

Most people associate root canal procedures with excruciating pain. This misconception is driven by long-standing myths and fables about dental care.

Fortunately, root canal treatments are relatively painless procedures. Patients receive appropriate anesthesia before the dentist starts the restorative work. If you have dental anxiety, you’re welcome to ask about available sedation options. Sedation helps patients relax while in the dentist’s chair, allowing a smooth experience for both the patient and the doctor.

How to Prepare for Root Canal Therapy

You don’t require much preparation if you’re coming in for a root canal procedure. However, if you expect to be deeply sedated during the procedure, you might have to avoid eating for several hours leading up to your appointment. You’ll also need to arrange for transport back home as you’re likely to be groggy and drowsy after your procedure. If you’re on any medications, please let your dentist know.

Non-Surgical vs. Surgical Root Canal Therapy

A non-surgical or simple root canal is exactly as it sounds—no surgery is involved. In contrast, surgical root canals feature a surgical element.

Here’s what to expect during a non-surgical root canal:

  • The dentist obtains dental x-rays to determine how far the decay has spread.
  • Next, the dentist administers appropriate anesthesia and sedation, if needed.
  • Using a dental drill, the dentist accesses the diseased dental pulp inside of the tooth.
  • The dentist then uses root canal files to remove the infected pulp and damaged nerves.
  • After removing all diseased matter, the dentist cleans and disinfects the tooth to get rid of microbes.
  • Finally, the dentist seals the tooth using a soft and highly adhesive material known as gutta-percha.
  • If the tooth is significantly destroyed, you may require dental crowns to restore its full function and appearance.

A surgical root canal may be required if non-surgical endodontic therapy fails to deliver intended results. Or, in some cases, the dentist may determine that a non-surgical root canal isn’t sufficient to meet the patient’s needs.

In the case of a failed initial root canal, the follow-up surgical root canal is referred to as endodontic retreatment. A common form of endodontic surgery is an apicoectomy or root-end resection.

A root-end resection involves cutting off the tooth root’s apexes to eliminate the infection. To perform this surgery, the dentist accesses the tooth root via an incision in the gum tissue.

Root Canal Aftercare Guidelines

You must observe proper aftercare instructions after a root canal procedure. If not, you may compromise the healing and recovery process and end up with a recurring infection. Here are some practical measures to keep in mind when recovering from root canal therapy:

  • Do not return to strenuous activities immediately after root canal therapy.
  • Use any prescribed medications as instructed.
  • Avoid foods, drinks, and snacks that are too hot, cold, spicy, or hard.
  • Keep your mouth clean by brushing and flossing regularly.
  • Chew with the untreated side of your mouth.
  • In case of worsening pain, get in touch with our dental office.

Schedule Your Appointment

A well-timed root canal procedure can save a problematic tooth and spare you the agony of tooth loss. If you’ve been experiencing ongoing dental pain, you might need endodontic therapy. Reach out to Westwood Dental Group today to find out more. We’re a multi-specialty dental office committed to providing quality care for the whole family.

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