The phrase “root canal” used to be synonymous with pain and fear, but that’s a thing of the past. Dental pain relief has come a long way over the years, and now, it’s easy to get a root canal without feeling a thing. Here’s what you need to know about this procedure.
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a type of filling. When you have a cavity, the dentist removes the decay and fills the area with a synthetic material. In most cases, that’s metal amalgam or composite resin. With a root canal, the same process happens, but as suggested by the name, the cavity goes into the root and the dentist has to remove decay from there.
Why Do People Need Root Canals?
You need a root canal if your cavity is so deep that it goes into the root of your tooth. In some cases, this may happen the very first time the dentist works on that tooth. In other cases, your tooth may have an average sized cavity and the dentist may fill it, but a few years down the line, some decay may get under that filling and a root canal may become necessary.
If the exterior of the tooth is fine, the dentist will fill the cavity as usual. However, if the cavity has impacted the exterior of the tooth, the dentist may put a dental crown on the tooth. To do that, the dentist may have to shave down some of the existing enamel in order to fit the porcelain crown over the tooth.
How Do You Prepare for a Root Canal?
You can prepare for a root canal just like you prepare for any other dental appointment. Ideally, you should brush and floss before your appointment. Most importantly, you should think about what type of pain relief you want.
Many patients are fine with just novocaine. That is a local anesthetic, and with that, you won’t be able to feel any of the work. If you want additional relaxation, you may want to opt for nitrous oxide or laughing gas. If you have a lot of anxiety, you may even want to opt for sedation dentistry.
What Should You Expect After the Root Canal?
If you get sedation dentistry, you need someone to drive you home from the dentist. With nitrous oxide and novocaine, that is not necessary. The nitrous oxide leaves your system almost immediately after the dentist turns off the gas, and novocaine is a local anesthetic so it doesn’t affect your cognitive functioning.
However, while your mouth is numb, you may have a little trouble eating or speaking. Don’t worry—it wears off within a couple of hours. After that, you may feel some mild discomfort in your mouth where the work was done, but ibuprofen can relieve it.
Do you have a toothache? Does one or more of your teeth have visible decay? Has another dentist told you that you need a root canal? Then, it’s time to make an appointment. At Suwanee Center for Family Dentistry, we work with people of all ages, and we are committed to keeping you comfortable while giving you the best dental care possible. Contact us today for an appointment.