What Happens During a Root Canal

Let’s face it: we all dread hearing those two words at the dentist’s office. But if you have a tooth that has become infected or has begun to badly decay, a root canal will likely be the necessary course of action.

The Warning Signs and Symptoms
There are several signs that indicate that you may need a root canal. Some tell-tale signs include pain when putting pressure on the tooth, a dark discoloration of the tooth, and intense sensitivity to heat and cold that lingers long after the source is taken away from the tooth. If you’re experiencing any of these signs, you should call your dentist right away.

The Procedure
The root canal process will usually be spread out over several visits. After administering local anesthesia, your dentist will drill a hole into your tooth. The dentist will then remove all of the pulp, bacteria, and the nerve from inside your tooth, cleaning deep down into the “roots” of the tooth. Due to the deep nature of the cleaning, sometimes it may take a second visit to clear out the tooth. When this is the case, your dentist will put in a temporary filling to keep bacteria out until the cleaning continues. After everything has been cleaned, the empty interior of the tooth will be filled and sealed. You may be given an antibiotic during the root canal process to prevent infection.
Because the tooth may now be more fragile than before, your dentist may recommend that you have a crown placed on the tooth, which is a process that you can begin at your next visit.

Managing Your Anxiety
Root canals get a very bad rap, but due to the anesthetic, you shouldn’t feel any more discomfort than during a regular filling! Getting a root canal takes a lot longer, however, and some of the sensations may be unpleasant due to how deep the cleaning of the tooth is. If you’re experiencing anxiety about your visit, talk to you dentist about how to make the process easier. This may include extra sedation like nitrous oxide, an explanation of what’s happening as your dentist works, and a signal you can give your dentist if you feel pain or need a break.

A root canal can seem scary, but it doesn’t have to be once you have an understanding of how the process works. For a dentist who can perform a root canal in the Farmington Hills area, you can contact Dwoskin & Owens Cosmetic & Family Dentistry for expert care. Don’t let your fear keep you away from this very important treatment.