Root canals exist to save teeth. When a tooth’s nerve is decayed or infected, a root canal gets rid of the bacteria to prevent reinfection and save the natural tooth. A root canal involves removing the infected nerve, then cleaning, disinfecting, filling and sealing the inside of the tooth.
Reasons to Get a Root Canal
If you’re dealing with excessive decay, cracks, large fillings or other trauma that inflame the tooth’s nerve, a root canal can save the tooth before it dies.
Root canals may have a bad reputation, but there’s nothing to be worried about. Root canals are relatively painless and highly effective at not only eliminating pain but saving your tooth.
Signs You Might Need a Root Canal
- An abscess on your gums that resembles a pimple
- Acute sensitivity to hot or cold that leads to lingering, potentially severe, pain
- Pain in a specific tooth when chewing or biting
- A toothache that wakes you up at night or comes on when you lie down or lower your head
Root Canal FAQs
Many root canals are done in one appointment, although some situations may call for a second. Here’s what to expect:
- We take an x-ray to find the shape of the root canal and detect any signs of infection.
- We numb your tooth and surrounding gums and place a rubber dam around the tooth.
- We open the top of the tooth and use special instruments to remove the nerve, bacteria and any decay.
- We clean and disinfect the inside of the tooth, then fill and seal it with gutta-percha, a rubber-like material. We then cover the top of the tooth with a filling or crown to protect the tooth (this part of the process is occasionally done during a second appointment).
You may still have sensitivity or pain for a few days after your root canal, but this is normal and will go away as the tooth heals. We recommend over-the-counter pain medication, taken as directed, to mitigate any lingering pain until your tooth fully heals.
Caring for your root canal is exactly as you should care for your teeth all the time: brush and floss twice a day. If you are between root canal appointments and have a temporary filling in place, avoid eating sticky or hard foods. It also helps to chew on the opposite side of your mouth.
We’re Ready to Help You
At Cajon Dental, everything we do is centered on you, your health and your experience.