A root canal is an endodontic procedure used to save a tooth that has been severely damaged by decay, has become infected, or has sustained an injury that affects the dental pulp. Your cosmetic or family dentist can determine if you are in need of a root canal, and you can find out more about the procedure with the information below.
Before undergoing a root canal, you will first undergo an x-ray so that your dentist can determine the shape of your root canals and identify signs of infection. Your dentist will also perform a visual inspection of your mouth and ask you about your symptoms in order to evaluate your need for a root canal procedure.
Your dentist may administer local anesthesia to the area near the affected tooth prior to your root canal procedure. Once the area has been cleansed and dried, your dentist will create an access hole in the tooth to remove bacteria, infected dental pulp, and any other debris from the pulp chamber. Your dentist will then apply an antibacterial medication to the inside of the pulp chamber before sealing the tooth. Depending on the amount of tooth structure removed and the level of infection, your dentist may have you wait a week before sealing the tooth. Most patients will then return for a follow-up visit to have a permanent crown put in place over the treated tooth.
Most patients report that the pain felt by the infection or decay was much worse than the root canal procedure itself. However, any discomfort can be alleviated with over-the-counter medications. You may want to consider placing an ice pack against your cheek near the affected tooth to reduce any swelling.
If you are suffering from a severe toothache, prolonged tooth sensitivity to hot or cold, swelling gums, or tenderness, you may be in need of a root canal. Give Northern Virginia Dental Associates a call at (888) 862-0095 or visit us online to set up an initial consultation. Our Springfield dentists can provide the comprehensive dental care you need.