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Long Wharf Dental Group
1 Long Wharf Drive, Suite #221, New Haven, CT 06511

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Uncover the Truth About Root Canal Treatment

Root canals are very common procedures, but they have a very negative reputation for being excruciatingly painful. Is this reputation deserved? Perhaps it was true centuries ago, but advances in dental techniques, equipment, and analgesics have made root canals relatively painless. Often, they’re the only way to save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted. If a root canal is in your future, the following information may help alleviate your anxiety.

For What Reasons Do Patients Need a Root Canal?

A root canal is usually performed on a tooth that has a decayed or damaged pulp, also called the root, that can’t be repaired or salvaged. If the decay or damage isn’t removed, it can exacerbate the issue, and the tooth will need to be removed. If you see a dentist at the earliest sign of a problem, you’ll have the best prognosis for saving your tooth.

What Are the Top Ten Questions to Know Before Getting a Root Canal?

If your dentist recommends a root canal, you probably have many questions, but by the time you’re in the dentist’s office, you may forget them. The following list of questions may help jog your memory, so take them with you to your next appointment.

  1. What make me a good candidate for the procedure?
  2. How much pain is involved in a root canal?
  3. Is there a better method for treating this problem?
  4. What’s the root canal procedure?
  5. What’s the duration of the procedure from start to finish?
  6. What are my options for anesthesia, and which do you recommend?
  7. Are there any risks involved in the root canal procedure?
  8. How much does a root canal cost?
  9. Does insurance typically cover all or part of the cost?
  10. Will my tooth be better after the procedure or will I require further intervention?

We recommend that you speak to your insurance provider before your procedure so that you know your coverage, its limitations, and any exclusions. If you need financial assistance, ask us about our financing options.

What Warning Signs Indicate That I Need a Root Canal?

The need for a root canal doesn’t just occur suddenly. There are warning signs that a problem is developing, so if you notice any of the following, make a dental appointment immediately:

  • Discolored or darkened areas on your teeth
  • Painful, red, swollen, or inflamed gums
  • Severe, incessant tooth pain
  • Small bump on the gums near a painful tooth
  • Persistent temperature sensitivity
  • Sore, painful teeth and gums
  • Severe tooth decay

If you notice any of the above, call your dentist immediately. The sooner you address the issue, the better the likelihood that you’ll save the tooth.

How Is a Root Canal Procedure Performed?

Your root canal procedure starts with detection and begins before you get to the dentist’s office.

When you notice you have any of the above symptoms and make a dental appointment, you’ve begun the root canal procedure.

  1. Your dentist will examine your teeth and gums to determine if you need a root canal. If so, then they’ll need access to the tooth’s interior.
  2. They’ll numb the area and drill a small hole in the tooth.
  3. The defective root will be removed through the hole, and the canals will be cleaned and disinfected.
  4. Once the canals are rinsed, they’ll be filled with a substance called gutta-percha, which protects the tooth’s structure.
  5. When the canals have been filled, a temporary filling will be installed on top of the tooth to cover the hole, and your permanent crown will be ordered.
  6. When your permanent crown comes in, you’ll return to our office, and we’ll affix the crown to your tooth using a very strong, permanent adhesive.

Your root canal is now complete, and your tooth should function like your other teeth.

What Are the Guidelines for Healing After a Root Canal?

After a procedure, there are always dos and don’ts. Following your aftercare instructions faithfully will ensure the best results and the quickest healing.

You’ll probably experience tingling and some soreness for a few days after the procedure. This is quite normal and is just the body’s method of healing. If you experience severe bleeding, swelling, pain, or any adverse reaction, be sure to let your dentist know immediately because you may have a problem. You shouldn’t have pain or discomfort that can’t be managed with over-the-counter pain medication. If you do, call your dentist without delay.

Root Canal Aftercare Instructions for Home

You’ll receive aftercare instructions from your dentist, and although they may seem extreme, they’re designed with your health in mind. Following them to the letter is the best and fastest way for your tooth to heal and be restored to full functionality. Although every individual is unique, your aftercare instructions should be similar to the following:

  • Avoid chewing anything until all the numbness in your mouth has completely dissipated. Otherwise, you can bite your cheek or tongue, but you’ll be completely unaware of it because the nerves are still not functioning.
  • Avoid biting or chewing near the treated tooth until it has completely healed and your dentist has installed your permanent crown.
    Adhere to your dentist’s guidelines exactly, especially regarding your pain medication.
  • Continue to follow your usual good oral hygiene habits for your other teeth, but avoid the treated tooth until it has completely healed and your permanent crown has been installed.
  • Call your dentist immediately if you experience any adverse reactions, no matter how minor. Adverse reactions include allergic reactions, excessive pressure or pain, swelling, nausea, or any other symptoms.

If you have any questions or problems, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist’s office.

Don’t Forget to Schedule Another Appointment With Your Dentist!

Your root canal has restored the health and functionality of your tooth, but the procedure won’t be complete until the permanent crown has been installed. Immediately after your root canal, make an appointment to have the permanent crown installed to ensure your tooth’s long-term health and functionality.

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Long Wharf Dental Group

1 Long Wharf Drive, Suite #221, New Haven, CT 06511

(203) 764-2386