What Are Root Canals and Do They Hurt?

Inside each of your teeth is pulp. Usually, your tooth pulp is protected by the hard outer layers of teeth, the enamel, dentin and cementum. But, when those layers break down or decay, bacteria can get into the pulp. Over time, the bacteria can cause inflammation in the pulp, causing you pain and discomfort. If that occurs, your dentist may recommend root canal treatment to save the tooth and ease discomfort.

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about root canals. While many people believe that they hurt, they actually make you feel better in the long run.

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a type of endodontic treatment that a dentist performs when the pulp inside the tooth is infected and inflamed. The inflammation can cause a great deal of pain. You may have sensitivity to heat and cold, persistent tooth pain, swollen gums and a pimple on the gums. Some people also have pain when they apply pressure to the tooth.

Your dentist may recommend a root canal for several reasons. In some cases, they may recommend the treatment if you have severe tooth decay or a cavity that can't be repaired by a filling. You may also need a root canal if you have a cavity that's been filled in the past and the filing has come loose. Some people need root canals after an injury that chipped or cracked a tooth.

What Happens During a Root Canal?

During a root canal, the dentist makes an opening in your tooth, then uses small tools to clean the pulp out of the tooth's interior. Once the tooth is cleaned, the dentist fills it with a material that's compatible with the body. They then close the opening and may place a temporary filling on the tooth.

The dentist will take an impression of the tooth to prepare a crown, which is placed on top of the tooth after the procedure is completed.

What Are the Benefits of Root Canal?

The goal of endodontics is to protect and preserve the interior of the teeth. A root canal treatment preserves the tooth and in turn, helps to preserve your smile. The treatment also protects the rest of your teeth. During a root canal, the dentist removes the infected pulp, removing bacteria from the mouth at the same time. Without that removal, the bacteria could spread to other teeth, causing additional decay and discomfort.

You get to keep your natural tooth through root canal treatment. Instead of extracting the tooth, the dentist preserves it and places a dental crown on the top. When you preserve your tooth, you also preserve the jawbone and shape of your mouth.

Do Root Canals Hurt?

Many people are concerned about the pain caused by root canal treatment. The reality is that the goal of a root canal is to relieve and prevent pain. During the treatment, your dentist will provide you with an anesthetic, which numbs the area being treated, so you won't feel the dentist working. Sedation may be an option if you want to be more relaxed and at ease during the process.

After the root canal, you may have some discomfort and swelling in the area. But, that typically resolves quickly and any pain you felt before will be alleviated as you heal.

How Do You Care for a Tooth After a Root Canal?

You can care for a tooth that's had a root canal in much the same way as you would care for any other tooth. Good oral hygiene, such as brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing, is important for protecting the tooth. A good oral care routine also protects the rest of your teeth from cavities and helps to prevent gum disease.

After your root canal, see your dentist regularly for teeth cleanings and exams. Your dentist will most likely want to monitor the health of your teeth and ensure that the root canal was successful.

How Much Does a Root Canal Cost?

The cost of a root canal depends on multiple factors. You may have insurance that covers a portion of the cost or all of it. If you don't have insurance, a dental membership plan can help make treatment more affordable. With a dental membership plan, you can receive a discount on certain treatments.

Do I Need a Root Canal?

If you'd like to preserve your teeth, a root canal may be the best option. Often, the choice patients have is between a root canal treatment and a tooth extraction. For the most part, choosing a root canal is preferred. Extracting a tooth may seem like it will be quicker and easier, but it typically requires additional treatment later on.

For many patients, a root canal is the best way to preserve the tooth, relieve pain and feel confident in their smiles again.

Schedule an Appointment With a Root Canal Dentist

A root canal shouldn't be scary or painful. If you're currently experiencing prolonged discomfort in your teeth, a root canal may be the right option for you. Contact Las Cruces Dental Solutions to schedule a consultation and learn more about root canal treatment.

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