What is a root canal and how is it performed?
A root canal is a procedure our dentist or oral surgeon will perform in order to save a tooth. Doing a root canal will help with saving the outside of the tooth. When a person comes to our dental office for a toothache one of our dental experts will begin by performing several oral x-rays of the mouth and teeth.
This will help our dentist or oral surgeon to see what is causing the pain around the tooth. If the tooth is not infected, our dentist can probably save the tooth. A procedure to remove the inside of the tooth with the nerves and pulp is a root canal. Our dentist will give the patient a shot to numb the tooth and the area around the tooth so that they can drill out the inside of the tooth.
The nerve is removed and our dentist will fill the tooth to protect the outside of the tooth. Saving the tooth is the best thing for a patient because of chewing and mastication of food. It is also good because it keeps the patient’s teeth for cosmetic purposes. Removing a tooth could cause the other teeth to lean to the side or become loose. Saving the root canal tooth will keep something in the socket to protect the integrity of the other teeth.
What causes the pain that individuals feel when their teeth are hurting bad enough to go to the dentist?
Some teeth may have infection or decay. The decay breaks down the tooth and the insides of the tooth sometimes causing the tooth to break off on the sides or top. When this happens our dentist may drill out the decay and fill the cavity with a hard substance finishing off with a cap. This filling will allow the individual to keep their teeth intact and the nerves.
When the tooth is bad enough that the whole tooth needs drilling out, our dentist may need to remove the nerves as well as the pulp of the tooth. This is what is known as a root canal. The nerve is not a part of the tooth that will be necessary to save so that the person can eat.
What are some problems that may occur to cause pain from root canal?
- Broken bones or teeth that did not get fully removed from the tooth may cause pain. The bone could be broken in the jaw during drilling and removal of the tooth. This is rare but always a possibility.
- Pain where the numbing shot is given. This is also rare, but possible.
- Nerves that remain and are exposed can be very painful as soon as the numbing medication wears off and the feeling begins to return. Patients can expect some pain from the pulling and tugging that happens during a root canal procedure.
What are other things to watch for when having a root canal procedure?
A root canal can be painful afterwards if the tooth becomes inflamed or infection sets. Repeated procedures on teeth such as drilling or removing of old caps can cause painful root canal procedures.
How to avoid root canals or other damage to your teeth
- Avoid sugary foods or foods that can break your teeth.
- Brush your teeth regularly in the proper motion. Make sure to clean back teeth as well as the front. Teeth in the back are more difficult to get to when brushing, make sure to clean thoroughly.
- Floss daily to remove excess food particles from between teeth.