The telltale signs of tooth infection can be worrying, mainly when you haven’t visited the dentist recently. However, when a tooth is infected or decaying, it’s crucial to intervene early and solve the issue before it worsens. Root canals are a necessary procedure to saving teeth that might otherwise rot and fall out. What are root canals, how are they performed, and how can they protect your tooth from being completely ruined?
The experienced dentists at Sierra Springs Dental in Airdrie, Alberta, can identify infections and provide root canals to those who might otherwise require getting their teeth pulled. Once we extract your natural teeth, it can’t grow back, so we need to save them before you begin considering extraction.
What are root canals?
A root canal is a dental procedure designed to repair or save a tooth from decay, infection, or injury. When a tooth becomes infected, the pulp and nerve of the tooth begin to decay. Root canals intervene by removing the inflamed interior of the tooth. During a root canal, your tooth’s root and its canals are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, hence the name. Then, the inside of your tooth is filled and sealed to prevent further infection.
Without a root canal, the tooth continues to decay. The decay can cause pain, discomfort, and the eventual loss of your tooth. The infection from one tooth can also spread to your gums and jaw, only worsening your situation. Root canals save your teeth by getting rid of the disease and fortifying what’s left of your natural tooth.
The only dental alternative to a root canal procedure is having your tooth removed. Then, tooth replacement is necessary to prevent bone loss in the jaw. However, implants and other replacement options can be time-consuming and expensive, while root canals are simple, effective, and typically successful.
Do I Need a Root Canal?
Signs of tooth infection are signs that you might need a root canal. There are a few symptoms to look out for, and they’re noticeable. These include:
- Hot or cold sensitivity
- Tooth and gum pain
- Swollen, tender gums
- Sores on the gums
- A cracked or damaged tooth
- Darkening tooth and gums
You can’t “wait out” a tooth infection, and it’s unwise to do so. Many people avoid seeking treatment because they think the problem works out naturally, but this isn’t the case. The longer you avoid a root canal, the more likely your tooth will rot and the infection spreads. It’s better to visit our Airdrie dentist at Sierra Springs Dental as soon as possible and get the issue treated. If you delay root canal therapy due to dental anxiety, know that Sierra Springs Dental offers sedation dentistry options to help patients with dental anxiety ease their fears and enjoy a more relaxed treatment.
Does Root Canal Therapy Hurt?
Contrary to popular belief, root canals cause little pain or discomfort. You receive local anesthesia for your procedure, just as you do for a filling or wisdom tooth removal.
Much of the pain people associate with root canals stems from the infection that necessitated the procedure in the first place, not anything that the dentist is doing. Think about it: when a disease attacks your tooth’s inner part, that includes soft tissue and nerves below the tooth’s hard surface.
The infection then causes the classic symptoms that indicate you might need a root canal: tooth sensitivity and toothache. When you come in for a root canal procedure, the dentist is attempting to clear your tooth of the infection causing the pain.
Meanwhile, you will experience some slight discomfort for as long as a few days after your dental appointment. It would help if you did not eat until your numbness subsides. It usually only takes up to four hours to return to normal levels of sensations. But you can go back to your regular daily routine of school or work immediately after your root canal treatment.
A root canal works very well toward restoring your tooth to its natural function. You can bite, chew, and generally smile after this necessary, tooth-saving procedure.
A Root Canal Can Save A Tooth That Might Otherwise Require An Extraction.
A successful root canal saves you the hassle, chair time, and cost of replacing a missing tooth.
Since extraction is a much cheaper procedure, it can be tempting to have your affected tooth pulled to save yourself some money. While this may initially save you some money, there are still long-term consequences to losing a tooth. The remaining teeth shift and drift out of place, which can affect your bite.
To prevent this from happening, we may recommend implant dentistry to replace the missing tooth or a bridge to avoid shifting. These procedures do cost money in the long run. It’s most cost-effective to save a natural tooth with a root canal versus having it pulled and paying for a more expensive implant later.
You also shouldn’t delay having a root canal done. Putting it off can compromise the tooth and eventually lead to extraction and implant.
It’s always best to save your natural tooth when possible. Once you lose a tooth to infection or anything else, you must worry about replacing it with a dental bridge or dental implant. Otherwise, it could complicate chewing and other dental functions. A gap in your smile also puts your healthy teeth at risk of shifting, which can mess up your bite.
Post-Root Canal Self-Care Tips
- Don’t Stress about Some Sensitivity
Your body will begin to heal after your procedure, but you may experience some sensitivity for a few days after treatment. Once we eliminate the infection, your body’s immune system will work hard to heal, and you should feel like yourself again within a week.
- Brush and Floss Regularly
Clean your teeth regularly. Developing gum disease is the last thing you need after a root canal procedure.
- Rinse with Warm Salt Water to Soothe the Area
Avoid hot and cold liquids until your tooth feels better. Rinsing with lukewarm water can feel quite soothing.
- Schedule Your Follow-Up Appointment
We will need to check the healing of your tooth to make sure all is well. Be sure to keep that appointment because it is an integral part of your care.
Root Canals Are Nothing To Be Afraid Of
Hopefully, after reading this, you feel a bit better about root canal therapy. If you require a root canal procedure, there is no need to be fearful. Just make sure you’re choosing an experienced dentist or endodontist who has your best interest at heart. If you have any questions regarding our root canal treatment or would like to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact our office in Airdrie at (403) 945-4555, and one of our friendly staff will assist you.