If you’re experiencing severe tooth pain, you may need to have a root canal procedure. This involves cleaning the canals inside your tooth which helps to preserve it and prevents the need for removal. Although root canals are notorious for being painful, the truth is that an experienced practitioner like Dr. Eliaz Kaufman in New York can perform the procedure in a way that is relatively pain-free. So, how do you tell if you need a root canal, and what are the different stages of a root canal procedure?
How Do I Tell If I Need A Root Canal?
Most people who need a root canal will experience pain when they chew or apply pressure to their tooth. They may notice a chip, crack or hole and have swelling in the surrounding gums or in their face and neck. The tooth will probably feel sensitive or painful when you eat or drink something that is hot or cold, and this pain will continue even after you stop eating/drinking. Some people will also develop an abscess around the damaged tooth.
The first thing your dentist will do is perform a dental x-ray. This will allow them to assess the level of damage to your tooth and to see the structure of your tooth’s root canal. It will also show whether the infection has damaged the surrounding bone.
Your dentist will then administer a local anesthetic to the tissues surrounding your tooth to stop you from feeling any pain during your root canal. Often, the tooth’s nerve will already have died, but you will still receive an anesthetic to ensure that the procedure is painless.
Protecting The Area
Next, a rubber sheet known as a dental dam will be placed in the area around the damaged tooth. This helps to keep the tooth clean and dry during the procedure.
Cleaning The Canal
Once these preparatory stages have been completed, the dentist will make a hole in the crown of the tooth to gain access to the canal. They will then clean out any rotten pulp from inside the canal using special tools called root canal files. This stage is totally painless because of the local anesthetic.
Treating The Infection
If your painful tooth was caused by an infection, the dentist will apply medication to the opening to kill any bacteria. If necessary, they will leave the hole open to allow any remaining bacteria to escape. They may also put a temporary filling in your tooth at this stage and ask you to return at a later date to seal the tooth off.
Sealing Off The Tooth
The dentist will fill the hole in your tooth’s canal with a combination of sealant and rubber. They will then place a filling in the tooth to protect it. They may seal the tooth off straight after the root canal procedure or ask you to come back another day if the infection was severe.
Restoring The Tooth
Usually, the tooth will have sustained quite a lot of damage, so the dentist will need to restore it. This usually means fitting an artificial crown in the same color as the rest of your teeth. This also stops the tooth from becoming reinfected.
The Bottom Line
Many people feel nervous about having a root canal procedure. However, thanks to advances in modern dentistry, you shouldn’t find the procedure painful. Having a root canal procedure performed promptly can save the tooth and prevent further damage and discomfort.