Need a Root Canal in Orange County?
Why Patients Shouldn’t Worry Too Much About the Treatment.
If a patient is told that he or she needs root canal therapy, their first response may be anxiety. After all, many people think that root canal procedures are invasive.
However, this usually isn’t the case. If you’ve ever had a filling placed, then you should know that having a root canal is a similar experience.
At the Dental Oasis of Orange County, Dr. Brian Toorani understands that his patients can be nervous about root canals. But he and his team will make the procedure as comfortable as possible.
Why Is Root Canal Therapy Necessary?
To understand why a root canal is necessary, you’ve got to know a little bit about the anatomy of your teeth. Inside each tooth and underneath your enamel are two layers: dentin and pulp. The dentin is bony tissue that surrounds and protects the pulp. The pulp is the living part of your tooth and has nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue.
If the pulp inside one of your teeth becomes infected, then removal is necessary so that you can keep your tooth. Infection or inflammation can be caused by trauma, like fractures, by faulty crowns, or by severe cavities.
If you don’t get the pulp removed, you could be in a lot of pain and increase your chances of having the infection spread. And if you wait too long, you may need to have the tooth extracted instead of being able to save the structure.
You may wonder how teeth can survive with pulp removal, but permanent teeth can survive since they are fully developed and continue to be nourished by surrounding tissues.
What Is the Procedure Like?
Again, the procedure for a root canal is less invasive than you might think and only takes one or two appointments to complete. You can request an appointment here. Be sure to ask Dr. Toorani about any preparations before you come in. For instance, your dentist may ask you to stop taking certain medications, like aspirin, a week or two before you come in for your procedure.
While each dentist has their own routine, root canals typically have the following steps:
1. Your dentist will take lots of x-rays to make sure that you are a viable candidate for root canal therapy. The x-rays will also show exactly where the decay is.
3. Your dentist will perform a pulpectomy by creating an opening in the enamel and removing all of the pulp tissue. The canal will then be cleansed and medicated. If the infection isn’t as bad to warrant a pulpectomy, your dentist may do a pulpotomy, where only a portion of the pulp is removed.
2. Your dentist will use local anesthetic in the infected area. This part of the procedure is similar and no more painful than when you go in for fillings.
4. Your dentist will fill the canal space with a rubbery material called gutta-percha or a kind of thermoplastic, then seal it off with a resin cement. A crown may also be placed if your tooth cannot return to its normal chewing function.
Even though this isn’t an invasive procedure, it is quite normal to feel a little sore afterward. You can usually take over-the-counter painkillers to reduce any tenderness. Sleeping with your head elevated will also help.
Your dentist will give you some after-care instructions to encourage healing and prevent infection. Even though root canals have a success rate of over 90%, it’s still important that you follow the after-care instructions.
For instance, you shouldn’t try eating anything until the anesthetic wears off, or else you may accidentally bite your cheek. Depending on your case, you may not be able to eat hard, sticky, or chewy foods until your dentist has fully restored the tooth. And don’t smoke or drink alcohol immediately after the appointment; your dentist will let you know when you can.
While Soreness Is Quite Common,
You Do Need to Keep Your Eye out for Any of the Following:
Allergic reactions, such as hives, to any antibiotics that your dentist prescribed.
Filling material that has worn off.
An uneven bite or pain that lasts more than a few days.
What Are Some Root Canal Therapy Benefits?
The benefits of root canal therapy greatly outweigh any fears you may have–especially since the success rate is so high. For one, you get to keep your tooth instead of having it extracted. This means that you will save money by avoiding the need for prostheses, grafts, or dental implants. You’ll also avoid the need for cosmetic dentistry since your tooth will retain its natural appearance.
If your tooth hurt before, you may have been compensating by chewing on just one side of your mouth. But this is just a band-aid solution. Uneven chewing causes uneven wear on your teeth, putting extra pressure on your jaw and enamel. Once you are healed up from a root canal, the functionality of your teeth will be restored.
Also keep in mind that without a root canal, the root canal system that contains the pulp can not only become infected but cause serious health issues. The infection in the pulp can spread to the bloodstream, and throughout your body, causing sepsis.
Even though root canal therapy is common, dentists understand that patients can still be hesitant to undergo the procedure. Ask your dentist if you can take a non-narcotic analgesic before coming in for your appointment so you are more comfortable–make sure they give you the go-ahead before doing so! If your anxiety over root canals is so bad that you can’t come in, you may want to consider sedation dentistry.