So the day has finally come. Your dentist has told you that one of your teeth is extremely damaged and that you need root canal therapy. You have been dreading this for years. You’ve always heard about how painful root canals are–can’t they just mercifully pull your tooth and be done with it? Actually, the “pain” often associated with the procedure is a complete myth, all thanks to modern dentistry. Root canal therapy is actually one of the best ways to relieve your worst dental pain, not cause it. Dr. Jeremy Jorgenson is going to answer some of your most common questions about root canal therapy in Costa Mesa, and let you know why you have nothing to fear.
1. Why Do I Need a Root Canal?
Your tooth is actually composed of layers, and you’re probably familiar with the outermost one, enamel. Just inside it is a layer of a material called dentin, and within that lies the dental pulp. This is where the nerve of your tooth resides, and it’s why you are able to actually feel your teeth. When a cavity has been left alone for a long time, or a tooth has suffered an injury, the pulp can become damaged. At this point, your tooth is probably in a lot of pain because the nerve itself has been affected, and the only way to fix it is with root canal therapy. Here are some other signs that you may need it:
- Swelling or redness in the gums around a tooth
- Swelling or sensitivity in the cheek near a tooth
- Pain when biting down
- A bump on the gums right next to a tooth
The kind of pain associated with this is much more severe than an average toothache. At this point, you should act quickly or the tooth may need to be removed entirely.
2. What is the Procedure Like?
When you come in for root canal therapy at Advanced Dental Care, the procedure involves 3 basic steps:
- An access hole will be created in your tooth so Dr. Jorgenson can reach the dental pulp.
- The damaged pulp will be removed and the area will be cleaned.
- Your tooth will be filled with a substance to support its structure and prevent it from becoming infected.
Root canal treatment in Costa Mesa can take anywhere from 30-90 minutes depending on your particular situation. Most of the time, it can be completed in one visit. If a large amount of your tooth needed to be removed, you may need to return for another visit to have it fully restored with a dental crown.
3. Will It Hurt?
This is the big question. The definitive answer is no. The area that is being treated will be thoroughly numbed before the procedure even begins, and Dr. Jorgenson can also offer you sedation. This will ensure that you feel no physical discomfort at any time. The pain from your infection or injury will be much greater than anything you feel during your actual root canal. It is intended to relieve your pain, not cause it. You can come into the office with the peace of mind that you will not be hurt.
4. How Will It Feel Afterward?
Afterward, your tooth may be a little more sensitive, but there should be drastic pain relief. Any lasting discomfort should abate in a week or so, and can be easily managed with over-the-counter medicine.
5. How Can I Avoid Needing One?
Of course, the best approach to any dental issue is to simply stop it before it starts. The best way to avoid getting a root canal is to consistently brush and floss at home, and get routine check-ups at least twice a year. If you start noticing any signs of tooth decay, such as dark spots or a toothache, be sure to contact us as soon as you can. If we catch a cavity early enough, it probably won’t need a root canal at all.
Have More Questions?
Root canal therapy has garnered a bad reputation over the years, so hopefully some of these answers have helped dispel a few harmful myths. If you are in extreme dental pain, root canal therapy is probably your answer, not your problem.
If you still have questions about root canal therapy or think you might need it, please give us a call today.