Root Canals Explained: Top 5 Questions Answered

Root Canal Dentist Canton Mi

Root Canals Explained: Top 5 Questions Answered

Root Canal Dentist Canton Mi

It goes without saying, but root canal treatment is not something many patients are thrilled about. Most feel unnecessarily anxious about the procedure and are unfamiliar with what a root canal entails, why it’s necessary, and how it can be beneficial for your oral health. Our Canton, MI, dentists are here to fill you in!

Here are 5 questions patients frequently ask about root canals.

1. What Is a Root Canal?

Also known as root canal therapy, this dental procedure is used to treat infection at the center of a tooth, or the roots. The treatment involves removing the infected or damaged pulp (made up of connective tissue, nerves, and blood vessels), cleaning and disinfecting the inside of the tooth, and then filling and sealing it to prevent further infection. Root canals are often necessary when the tooth pulp becomes inflamed or infected due to deep decay, there are repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip occurs in the tooth.

Despite having a notorious reputation, root canals do help save teeth that might otherwise need to be extracted. That’s because the act of removing the infected or damaged pulp still allows our dentists to preserve the tooth’s structure and alleviate tooth pain.

2. Does a Root Canal Hurt?

One of the most common misconceptions about root canal treatments is that they are extremely painful. However, with modern anesthetics and advanced dental techniques, root canal treatment is usually no more uncomfortable than having a filling placed. The discomfort experienced in the period leading up to seeking urgent dental care is truly the painful period, not the treatment itself. Most patients report that the procedure itself is painless, and significant relief is noticed almost immediately after.

3. How Long Does the Procedure Take?

The length of the root canal procedure depends on the complexity of the problem and the anatomy of the tooth. Typically, a root canal is completed in one visit inside our Canton, MI, dental office and lasts between 30 to 60 minutes, or up to 90 minutes if the situation is more serious. In cases where the infection is severe, our dentists may choose to do the treatment in multiple steps (and possibly a second appointment) to ensure all the infection is cleared out before sealing the tooth.

4. How Do I Know If I Need a Root Canal?

One of the most pronounced signs to take note of is intense pain that doesn’t subside with over-the-counter pain medication. This type of pain can indicate that the nerve inside the tooth is affected, necessitating immediate attention.

Another telltale sign is swelling in the face or gums, which might suggest that an infection has spread beyond the tooth itself, potentially posing a broader health risk. For example, pimple-like swelling on the gums can mean a dental abscess, or pocket of pus, has resulted from the infection and intervention is required.

Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures that lingers long after the initial exposure can also be a sign of nerve damage or infection requiring a root canal. This sensitivity is often sharp and severe, differing from the mild discomfort one might experience with minor dental issues. A darkening of the tooth is another indicator; it suggests that the tooth’s nerve may be dead or dying, leading to discoloration.

Moreover, a cracked or chipped tooth that exposes the nerve is not only painful but also creates an entry point for bacteria, leading to infection and, potentially, the need for an emergency root canal. Being aware of all of the above symptoms allows you to seek timely dental care, preventing a situation from getting worse.

5. What Happens After a Root Canal?

After a root canal is performed, the tooth is deadened because the nerve tissue has been removed. This can make the tooth more brittle, so a dental crown is usually needed to protect and fully restore the tooth. Post-procedure care involves avoiding chewing on the affected side until the restoration is complete and maintaining good oral hygiene habits to ensure the longevity of the treatment and overall oral health.

Give Our Canton Office a Call

Our dentists in Canton, MI, hope that with these top questions answered, you feel more informed and less apprehensive about root canal treatment. If you suspect you need a root canal, or if you’re experiencing dental pain, call Hometown Dental today at (734) 667-4941 to request an appointment.