Endodontic treatment, popularly referred to as root canal therapy, is one of the most common dental procedures performed today. In fact, it's reported that over 15 million root canals are performed yearly in the United States. When your tooth's pulp is infected, decayed, or injured, you may have to decide whether to have an extraction done or get a root canal treatment.
Root canal therapy should be the first course of treatment whenever possible as it gives you an opportunity to save your natural tooth. Tooth loss can be devastating for your self-esteem and well-being. Fortunately, root canal therapy offers a way to save your natural teeth and retain your smile.
How Do You Know If You Need a Root Canal?
Some types of tooth pain aren't indications of a root canal. However, signs of infection severe enough to require one include:
- Excruciating pain when chewing and applying pressure on a tooth
- Discoloration of your tooth over time
- Appearance of a persistent pimple on your gum
- Extreme sensitivity of teeth to hot and cold temperatures (especially if the pain prolongs)
- Swollen gums, neck, or face indicating the presence of an abscess.
How Does Root Canal Therapy Save Your Tooth?
During endodontic treatment, the pulp of the infected tooth is removed. The pulp is the inner part of the tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels, and other connective tissues. The inner part of the tooth is then thoroughly cleaned to eliminate any bacteria. A filling is later added for protection, and a crown is placed on the tooth to restore it to full function.
Is Root Canal Therapy Painful?
As a result of the modern technology and anesthesia used during root canal treatment, the process doesn't usually hurt. Though some people experience pain or discomfort shortly after root canal therapy, this sensation typically subsides within a few hours and can be managed by painkillers.
It's crucial for patients to understand that root canal therapy is common and is routinely performed by dentists with a 95% success rate.
How Do You Take Care of Your Teeth After Endodontic Treatment?
Once the endodontic procedure has been completed, you're advised to practice oral hygiene and make regular visits to your dentist to ensure everything gets healed as it should have. Some of the routines you can practice include:
- Brushing your teeth more often
- Flossing everyday
- Using an antiseptic mouthwash regularly
- Using a fluoride toothpaste when brushing
- Avoiding sugary or acidic foods