Root Canal FAQ
DentAlign NYC Will Answer Your Root Canal Questions
Any time you need a dental procedure, you’re likely to have a lot of questions about the specifics of the treatment and why it’s necessary. Root canals can cause anxiety or uncertainty, as they have a bad reputation for being painful and difficult. However, with the right dental team, like the one at DentAlign NYC, your root canal can go smoothly and only cause minimal, if any, discomfort. We have an experienced staff to perform your root canal at our New York City practice. You can count on us to answer all your questions before the procedure, which is why we’ve answered the most common questions about root canals on this page. If you have any additional questions or would like to know more about our dental practice, please reach out to us today.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure that is used to remove infected pulp from the root canal system of a tooth. Each tooth has several roots and a canal or two within each of those roots. A root canal will remove all infected pulp from each canal to stop the infection from spreading further into the gum or bone.
What Can I Expect During a Root Canal?
Though root canals are a common dental procedure, the process is rather complex. However, this doesn’t mean you’ll have to be at the office for an extended period of time. Though you may feel some discomfort during the procedure, you should not be worried about extreme pain. It should be no more difficult than getting a dental filling. We start the process by numbing the affected tooth and isolating it from surrounding teeth with a protective sheet. We’ll then drill a small opening in the tooth in order to reach and remove the infected pulp. Once the canals have been cleared of all pulp, we’ll fill the tooth. We may use a temporary filling, and have you return to place the permanent filling.
What Issues Does a Root Canal Treat?
Root canals can be used to solve many dental problems. They are often necessary to keep a dental concern from becoming worse over time. Our dentist may recommend a root canal for any of the following issues:
- A tooth infection that has reached the nerves
- Extensive tooth decay or a deep cavity that cannot be repaired with a filling because the pulp and nerves are also affected
- A severely cracked tooth
- A broken tooth
- A tooth that has had repeated fillings
What Are the Signs I Need a Root Canal?
Because root canals help to prevent infection from spreading, it’s important to identify your need for the procedure and get it taken care of as soon as possible. Patients who require a root canal will experience certain symptoms, and if you know what to look for, you’ll be able to get the care you need and prevent further issues. The most obvious sign that a root canal is necessary is dental pain. You may also feel that your tooth is more sensitive to hot or cold foods and beverages. However, the symptoms of pulp infection will be more than just pain. Some additional signs you need a root canal include:
- You have a visibly cracked or broken tooth
- Your gum is swelling
- There is discoloration or darkening in the teeth or gums
- You’ve noticed pimples around the gums that won’t go away
Are Root Canals Painful?
Root canals have a bad reputation for being painful. However, this is a common misconception. Modern dentistry practices have allowed dentists to make this procedure much more comfortable for the patient. We fully numb the area to ensure your discomfort will be minimal. For most patients, a root canal will produce no more discomfort than getting a filling.
Are There Treatment Alternatives to a Root Canal?
The only alternative to a root canal is natural tooth loss or extraction of the infected tooth. Dentists do not recommend this option as it will leave you with a gap, causing other teeth to shift out of alignment. A missing tooth can affect your ability to eat and speak. If teeth become misaligned, they are also hard to keep clean, which could result in tooth decay, gum disease, and other costly dental care. Choosing to forego a root canal and lose the natural tooth can essentially start a ripple effect of other dental problems.
Will I Experience Discomfort after the Procedure?
After your root canal procedure, you can expect to feel some tenderness and mild discomfort. You may especially notice this when biting down or eating. Our dentists recommend that you chew on the opposite side of your mouth until a permanent restoration can be placed on the treated tooth. This will help reduce pain and protect the area. You can also help to ease any root canal pain by taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain reliever, such as ibuprofen. Just be sure to take this pain reliever following the package instructions. Once the permanent restoration is placed, you’ll experience far less or no discomfort and will be able to eat and speak normally.
What Can I Do to Prevent Root Canals in the Future?
Once the tooth pulp becomes infected, you have to undergo a root canal to remove the infection. However, there are some steps you can take to prevent the infection in the first place. The best way to do so is to support your oral health through good dental hygiene, which will help to prevent tooth decay. Try to avoid eating foods with high sugar content or drinking overly acidic beverages like soda and fruit juices. You can also help protect your teeth by visiting your dentist regularly. During these appointments, the hygienist will clean your teeth and your dentist will complete a checkup to identify any potential problems. It’s also a good idea to wear a mouthguard during sports and other activities where your teeth may be injured.
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