Root Canal Treatment FAQs
What is root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment, or endodontic treatment, is a dental procedure performed to treat an infected or damaged tooth pulp, which is the soft tissue inside a tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. A root canal treatment is needed when the pulp inside a tooth becomes infected or inflamed due to a deep cavity, a cracked or broken tooth, repeated dental procedures, or trauma to the tooth. Root canal treatment can be an effective way to save a damaged or infected tooth and restore function to your mouth.
How is root canal treatment performed?
Your dentist will examine the affected tooth and take X-rays to determine the damage’s extent and identify any signs of infection. Once the size of the damage has been determined, he will perform local anesthesia to numb the area around the affected tooth and then create an access hole in the top of the tooth to reach the pulp chamber and root canals. Using specialized tools, the dentist will remove the damaged or infected pulp and shape the root canals to prepare them for filling. After cleaning and disinfection, he will fill the root canals with gutta-percha, which will seal the canals to prevent further infection. A temporary filling may be placed over the access hole to protect the tooth until a permanent restoration can be identified. Depending on the extent of the damage, a dental crown or other restoration may be placed over the tooth to provide additional support and protection. Root canal treatment can typically be completed in one or two appointments, depending on the extent of the damage and the complexity of the treatment.
What are root canal treatment benefits?
Root canal treatment can alleviate the pain caused by an infected or damaged tooth pulp, which can be severe. Rather than having the tooth extracted, root canal treatment can save the natural tooth, which can be essential for maintaining proper bite and alignment of surrounding teeth. Once the infected or damaged pulp is removed and the tooth is sealed, it can function normally, allowing you to eat and speak without pain or discomfort. Root canal treatment removes the source of the disease, preventing it from spreading to other teeth or causing more severe health problems. Root canal treatment is generally less expensive than having a tooth extracted and replaced with a dental implant or bridge.
How soon can I eat after a root canal?
After a root canal treatment, it is generally recommended that you wait until the anesthesia has worn off completely before eating anything to avoid accidentally biting your tongue or cheek. This can take a few hours. Once the anesthesia has worn off, you can usually eat soft foods or foods that do not require many chewings, such as yogurt, mashed potatoes, soup, or smoothies. It is essential to avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods, as they can cause pain or dislodge the temporary filling your dentist may have placed.
How long will a tooth that has had a root canal treatment last?
A tooth with a root canal treatment can last a lifetime with proper care, such as practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.
Is root canal treatment painful?
While root canal treatment has a reputation for being painful, most patients experience little to no pain during the procedure, as it is performed under local anesthesia. After the process, there may be some discomfort, but this can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medication.
Can a tooth that has had a root canal treatment become infected again?
It is possible for a tooth that has had a root canal treatment to become infected again, although this is rare. Practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings are essential to prevent reinfection.
Is root canal treatment expensive?
A: Root canal treatment can be less expensive than having a tooth extracted and replaced with a dental implant or bridge. The cost of the treatment can vary depending on the case’s complexity and other factors, such as the location of the tooth and the type of restoration needed.