What comes to mind when you think of a root canal? If you’re like most people, you are probably shuddering right now, imagining a painful, drawn-out procedure.
We have good news for you.
Dentistry has evolved by leaps and bounds, and with modern techniques and instruments, root canals are now, in most cases, a routine and painless procedure – no more complex than having a filling placed. In fact, the American Association of Endodontists recently conducted a survey and found out that people who have had a root canal are six times more likely to describe the procedure as painless than people who have never had one!
What Is a Root Canal?
We know that fear can come from the unknown. Part of the reason behind the root canal’s bad reputation is a misunderstanding of what the procedure is and why it’s performed.
Although the name “root canal” might conjure up some scary imagery, the procedure is actually named after the part of your tooth’s anatomy that it is designed to treat. Inside your tooth, under the layer of enamel and dentin, is a softer area with a chamber that contains the nerve and other live tissue of the tooth. The nerve runs from your tooth to your jaw through the root canal.
Sometimes, this chamber can become infected. This could be caused by decay or trauma to the tooth. When this happens, it’s often quite painful. Some symptoms that may indicate an infection include:
- Pain, especially with chewing or pressure
- Sensitivity to changes in temperature
- Darkening of the tooth
- Swelling in the gums or cheek
If you experience any of these symptoms, call our office right away. We’ll get you in for emergency treatment as soon as possible.
During the root canal, Dr. Gilstrap will create a small hole in your tooth to access the interior. Using special instruments, he’ll carefully clean out the infection and remove the nerve of the tooth to stop the pain. He may also place antibiotics in the tooth, if needed, before filling the tooth and then sealing it.
What Can I Expect After a Root Canal?
It will take a couple days for the discomfort of the infection to completely subside, although you will probably notice an improvement right away. Dr. Gilstrap may recommend a crown for your tooth since removing the nerve can cause the tooth to become more brittle.
Make sure to take any prescribed medications exactly as directed to treat the infection, stay comfortable, and reduce swelling. Dr. Gilstrap will let you know if he has further instructions for you.
If you have any questions or concerns following your root canal, please don’t hesitate to give our Overland Park dental office a call.
Are You in Pain?
Are you experiencing dental pain or another concerning symptom? Please call us so that we can help you by relieving your pain and restoring your dental health. Pain is always an indication that something is wrong and needs your attention. Don’t ignore your body’s cry for help!