What is a root canal used for?
The root canal is made up of the inner passages of a tooth that connect the pulp to the roots.
A root canal procedure is a dental treatment in which infected tooth pulp material is removed from the interior of the tooth to prevent pain and preserve the tooth.
What are the signs that a root canal is needed?
Tooth Pain or Discomfort
If you are feeling pain within your tooth then you are likely experiencing an infection.
You may notice sharp pain while you are chewing or otherwise applying pressure to the tooth. Sensitivity to temperature may also be noticeable when you have a tooth infection.
If you are experiencing pain in your tooth, make an appointment with your Vancouver dentist as soon as possible for a diagnosis.
Cysts or Bumps on the Gums
You may notice a small, pimple-like bump forming on the gums near a tooth that might need a root canal. This is called a dental cyst.
Dental cysts form around the roots of decayed or infected teeth and sometimes form if the pulp of a tooth is infected.
A tooth with infected pulp may become dark in colour, or even black, due to internal damage. If you notice that one of your teeth has become darker than the others, it may be indicative of a problem with the inner pulp.
Will a root canal be painful?
A root canal procedure might sound scary, but with today’s technology, it’s typically not a whole lot more different than having a deep filling. Typically there will be no pain during a root canal procedure thanks to the local anesthetic, although you may feel some pressure as the dentist works.
Once your root canal is completed and the anesthetic has worn off you may begin to feel some discomfort. Your dentist may suggest that you take over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil).
Generally, pre-treatment pain can be high, but the pain tends to drop moderately within a day of treatment and then drop substantially to minimal levels within a week.
Tips For Preventing Root Canals
You can help to prevent root canals the same way that you prevent other dental conditions. To keep your teeth healthy, try to get into the habit of following these steps:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
- Floss between your teeth at least once a day.
- Use fluoride toothpaste or a fluoride rinse.
- See your dentist for checkups every 6 months.
- Have your teeth professionally cleaned by your dentist at least once a year.
- Limit the amount of sugary food and refined carbohydrates you eat. These foods have a tendency to stick to your teeth. If you eat sugary foods, try to rinse your mouth or brush your teeth shortly afterward.