The Notorious Root Canal
Root canals are the most common procedure relating to endodontics, the dental specialty that deals with the nerves of the teeth. Many people experience fear or anxiety when they hear they need a root canal, but root canal treatment is quite common and surprisingly painless.
Here at Western Dental Care, we provide root canal treatment at our Albany, NY office. Learn more about the procedure and how we can assist you if you’re experiencing tooth pain.
When Patients Need a Root Canal
When a tooth becomes infected, it is usually related to the nerves in the root of the tooth. Those infected nerves need to be removed or the infection can turn into an abscess. An abscess is a much more serious problem that includes bone loss in the jaw. In order to preserve your tooth, Dr. Santhosh Thomas may recommend root canal treatment.
If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, a root canal may be right for you:
- Sharp pain when chewing or biting
- Abscesses on the gums
- Lingering tooth sensitivity to hot and cold
- Swollen, painful gums
- Deep decay or darkened gums
- Chipped or cracked teeth
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, please call our office at (518) 456-8040 and schedule an appointment right away.
The Root Canal Procedure
When you’re ready for your root canal, Dr. Thomas will begin by numbing the area around the affected tooth with a local anesthetic. This is to ensure you will not feel any pain during the procedure. Next, he will drill down into the tooth to create an opening in the canal. This is so he can remove the infected tissue and clean the canal.
After the canals are shaped with tiny instruments, they will be ready to receive the filling material. Dr. Thomas will fill them with a sealant called gutta-percha. Also, it is highly recommended that a tooth that has undergone a root canal is fitted with a crown. This will improve the appearance of the tooth, and will also make it much more likely that the root canal is successful. The permanent crown is fabricated to match the existing teeth. Once it has been placed, you’ll be able to chew normally again.
You will most likely experience some discomfort for a few days after your root canal treatment. Over-the-counter pain medication will typically alleviate this. Dr. Thomas may also send you home with a prescription for antibiotics in order to kill the rest of your infection, if necessary. If you’re experiencing severe pain or your discomfort lasts more than a few days, please call our office and make an appointment so we can check the surgical site.
Benefits of Root Canal Treatment
Having to undergo a root canal procedure might not be fun, but it has lasting health benefits. Some of the top benefits of a root canal include:
- Prevents tooth loss
- Prevents infection of adjacent teeth
- Boosts the aesthetic appeal of teeth
- Prevents jawbone degeneration (resorption)
- Boosts oral and overall health
- Virtually painless (minimal discomfort)
Our patients who have had root canals are often happier and healthier after their procedure, not to mention the relief that comes from being pain-free.
Root Canal FAQs
How will I know if I need a root canal?
If you’re experiencing sharp pain when you chew or bite down, swollen, inflamed gums, extreme tooth sensitivity, or an abscess, there’s a good chance you need a root canal. However, only your dentist can make the diagnosis, so make sure to schedule a visit with Dr. Thomas if you’re in pain.
Are root canals painful?
It is a common misconception that root canals are painful. While you will likely experience some discomfort during and after your procedure, it is very minor and temporary. Our team will make sure you do not feel pain during the procedure.
What can I do to prevent the need for a root canal?
Sometimes root canals are unavoidable. But you can avoid tooth decay by practicing good oral hygiene habits. Avoiding foods high in sugar and acidic beverages like soda and fruit juice can also help. Most importantly, visit our Albany office twice a year for dental cleanings and check-ups.