Root Canal Therapy: Process and Pain Management

A root canal is also known as endodontic treatment or root canal therapy. It is a dental treatment that removes an infection from the inside of a tooth and removes the nerves from the tooth pulp. Although it has a bit of a bad reputation for being a painful procedure, a root canal, when done properly by a skilled professional root canal dentist, can actually be pain-relieving. Of course, that isn’t to say that some pain won’t be present with the procedure and recovery. However, when you know how to manage pain, your experience should ultimately lead to healing. Read on to learn more about root canal therapy and learn some answers to some common questions related to this procedure.  

Root Canal Cost: What to Expect?

Costs for a root canal procedure vary greatly based on many factors. However, it is considered the most cost-effective option when compared to an extraction followed by an implant or bridge. In addition, removing a tooth through extraction, which is the most obvious alternative to dealing with a diseased tooth, can lead to misalignment, malocclusion and even difficulty chewing. Therefore, a root canal is the best option in a variety of situations.  

Root Canal Process: Endodontics

The following is a breakdown of the root canal procedure:

  • Cleaning the Root Canal: Local anesthesia is used to ensure that you remain pain free. The root canal dentist or endodontist makes a small hole in the surface of the tooth to access its insides. Through this hole, pulp tissue that is dead or diseased is removed and cleaned out.  
  • Root Canal Filling: After removing the pulp tissue, the dentist cleans out and decontaminates the remaining hollow area. He also uses files to shape the area using an irrigation solution. The next step involves the filling of the space with rubber-like material. Then, the canal is sealed using adhesive cement. After this step, the tooth is dead. This means you should no longer feel any pain because there is no longer nerve tissue present, and the infection is gone.
  • Add a Filling or Crown: To complete the entire process of a root canal, you have to protect the tooth since it will be more vulnerable than it was previously. Often, this means applying a crown to the tooth to protect it from becoming too brittle. This happens because the tooth no longer has a pulp and now only receives nourishment from the ligament that attaches the tooth to the bone. (Until after this step, you should avoid chewing on the affected tooth).  

Do Root Canals Hurt?

As mentioned above, many people are scared of this procedure, assuming it will be painful. However, due to the innovative techniques and highly skilled professionals who perform the procedure, you should expect very little pain. In fact, in many cases, especially if you have been experiencing an infection or pulp inflammation, having this treatment can offer pain relief and be mostly pain-free throughout the procedure. It is common to experience tooth sensitivity in the affected tooth within the first few days after treatment. This is especially true if you have had an infection or pain in the area before your treatment. In most cases, taking over-the-counter medication or even dentist medication can relieve any pain you might experience. Your tooth might feel different from your other teeth. However, if you feel more severe pain or pressure, you should contact your endodontist because this type of pain isn’t considered normal.  

Recovering From Your Root Canal

In most cases, it will take less than a week to recover from a standard root canal. However, it’s important to follow your root canal dentist's instructions after your procedure to keep from doing harm to the area and perhaps making your pain worse. If you follow the steps listed below, your recovery should go much smoother:  

  • Eat soft foods. Especially for the first few days after your procedure, it’s important to eat only soft foods like yogurt, smoothies, mashed potatoes, cooked pasta, etc.
  • Take a break if you smoke, as smoking can make it harder for your body to heal.
  • Don’t chew on the treated tooth before you get your permanent crown.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash daily to reduce the presence of germs in your mouth.
  • Brush your teeth after each meal, and be sure to floss once daily.  

The Danger of Delaying Your Root Canal

There are many issues that can come up if you put off a dentist-suggested and/or ordered root canal. This includes the infection within the pulp spreading to other teeth or into your jawbone. You can also lose the infected tooth. Therefore, it’s important not to delay if your dentist feels that a root canal is needed.  

Contact Us at Las Cruces Dental Solutions

If you are having trouble with a tooth and need endodontic treatment. Learn about root canal therapy and the process of pain management during and after your procedure. Contact us at Las Cruces Dental Solutions to learn more.

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