I Need a Root Canal. Will it Hurt? Answers to Your 5 Frequently Asked Questions

Root canal FAQs

Root canal treatment is extremely common, but many patients are deeply concerned about undergoing the procedure. In reality, this straightforward treatment has many benefits and shouldn’t be avoided. Here’s what you need to know about the treatment experience.

What is a root canal?

Root canal treatment is a dental procedure aimed at treating infected or damaged pulp located inside a tooth. Your teeth are protected by a hard outer layer, enamel, and another hard layer underneath called dentin. Underneath that is pulp and nerve tissue, which can be susceptible to infection if exposed due to tooth decay or physical damage.

If you have a tooth that is infected or abscessed, removing the pulp is often the best way to provide relief and save the tooth. Your dentist will create an opening at the top of the affected tooth and then use special tools to remove the pulp from the space inside. They then clean and fill the area, and you may require a dental crown to ensure your tooth’s integrity.

Frequently Asked Questions About Root Canals

Patients have questions and concerns about all kinds of dentistry procedures. It’s natural to want to know more about your treatment, but you need to make sure you’re getting the facts. Here are some answers to questions you might have about your root canal.

1. When is a root canal necessary?

There are several situations where your dentist may decide that a root canal is necessary. When decay or physical damage exposes the interior of your tooth, this treatment is likely required. Once bacteria infiltrate the pulp, there isn’t a reliable way to remove it for good. Instead, removing the pulp to prevent infection is the best course of action.

You could also find yourself already having an infected or abscessed tooth. At this point, performing a root canal will be the only way to save the tooth and provide relief from the toothache and other symptoms.

2. Is a root canal painful?

While some people think that a root canal is painful, it is generally a comfortable procedure. You’ll have local anesthetic, just like you do while getting a filling. This numbs the area to prevent pain. In fact, carrying out the treatment will provide lasting relief if you’re dealing with an infection or toothache.

3. How long does a root canal take?

A root canal is a very straightforward procedure that will be carried out in one appointment, although you may have to schedule it for a separate date from the initial consultation. In most cases, the treatment takes less than an hour. There are some more complicated cases that can extend this timeline, but they very rarely take longer than an hour and a half.

4. Are there alternatives to root canals?

In many instances, the only viable alternative to a root canal is an extraction. This happens when your pulp tissue is either infected or has been exposed and is likely to become infected in the future. The issue must be dealt with, and the historical solution to this problem has been extraction. This type of treatment provides an alternative to tooth extraction that lets you keep your tooth.

5. Can I eat normally after a root canal?

You will likely have increased sensitivity for a few days following your root canal, particularly when consuming especially hot, cold, or spicy foods. Chewing can also be difficult, so it’s best to stick to softer foods like mashed potatoes, soup, yogurt, and oatmeal. However, you’ll be back to normal in just a few days and can resume your usual diet.

Caring for Your Mouth After a Root Canal

While root canal treatment is a relatively minor procedure, there are still some steps you should take to ensure a fast and effective recovery. For the first few days, you may experience some swelling and discomfort, and if this happens, applying an ice pack can bring relief. Make sure to ask your dentist before taking any medication.

In addition, it’s important to keep up with oral hygiene after your procedure. You should continue your regular routine and simply be gentle while brushing. Within just a few days after your treatment, you should be back to normal and can resume regular activities.

Find out more from your family dentist near Anchorage, AK.

If you have a painful or highly sensitive tooth, you may need a root canal to prevent further decay or infection. This straightforward procedure can provide lasting relief and protect your long-term oral health. Valley Dental Clinic is your source for Alaska family dentistry in Wasilla. Schedule an appointment today so we can find the best treatment plan for your smile.