If bacteria enters the pulp of a tooth and leads to infection, a root canal is a procedure to remove the infected pulp and seal the tooth to prevent reinfection. If you’ve been told you need one, you’re not alone: More than 15 million teeth are saved each year with endodontic treatment. Still, many patients fear this procedure due to myths surrounding it.
In today’s blog post, let’s set the record straight and consider seven frequently asked questions about root canals.
1. Are root canals painful?
Many people believe that root canals are painful. However, this procedure is completed to relieve the pain of toothaches due to pulp infection or inflammation. Thanks to modern day anesthetics and techniques, most patients report little to no pain during the procedure.
After the treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive for a few days, especially if you were in pain prior to the root canal. Over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers are enough to help with this initial discomfort.
2. What are the signs of needing a root canal?
The following symptoms indicate the need for a root canal:
- Serious pain when chewing or biting
- A chipped or cracked tooth
- Swollen or tender gums
- Sensitivity to hot or cold, even after the sensation has been removed
- Pimples on the gums
- Decay or darkening of the gums
3. What can I eat after a root canal?
Following a root canal, eat soft foods that require minimal chewing, such as apple sauce, yogurt, eggs, and fish. Avoid hard or hot foods, as they may bother your teeth. It’s also best to wait for a few hours to eat to ensure that you don’t bite your cheek or tongue due to lingering numbness.
4. Can all teeth be treated endodontically?
For the most part, yes. In some cases, a tooth cannot be saved. The root canals may not be reachable, or the root may be fractured. Additionally, the tooth may lack adequate bone support. However, as endodontic treatment becomes more advanced, teeth that previously would’ve been lost can now be treated.
5. Will I need special care or additional treatment after a root canal?
Once the root canal is completed and the tooth is restored, you can treat it like any other tooth! Fortunately, at Maitland Ave Smile Co., we can create same-day, custom-made dental crowns during your root canal visit, allowing for a full restoration in a single appointment.
Following a root canal, be sure to practice good oral hygiene, including twice-daily brushing, flossing, and biannual check-ups. With proper care, many teeth treated with a root canal last a lifetime.
6. What happens if I don’t get a root canal?
If left untreated, the infection in the tooth may worsen and ultimately lead to the need for an extraction. It’s always best to save your natural teeth when possible; in many cases, a root canal is the best way to do so. Additionally, the infection may spread to other parts of the body and even become life-threatening.
7. Can a root canal fail?
Root canals have a high success rate, but like most procedures, favorable results are not guaranteed. If the treated tooth becomes infected at the root, it may need to be treated again. Additionally, the crown or inner sealant may break down. If the pain returns, visit your dentist immediately.
Call us at 407.834.0330 to schedule your appointment today! Check out our Dental Blog to learn more about topics like restorative dentistry, dental anxiety, and more.