Following a dental infection or an extensive injury to one of your teeth, your dental team may have advised you to undertake endodontics; also known as a root canal.
And chances are, if you are like most dental patients, you are feeling a bit apprehensive about the procedure, especially if you have never had one before or have heard rumours about them being unpleasant.
In this brief FAQ section, 5 common questions about having a root canal performed are answered, allowing you to make the best choice about your dental care.
Does a root canal hurt?
In short no, but it is likely that when you attend a dental surgery to have one performed, you may be in some discomfort.
Your dentist Brentwood will aim to numb the appropriate area using a local anaesthetic before they begin and will work carefully to not cause any issues with the pulp.
Once the treatment is over and you are at home, you may notice that the tooth that has had the root canal feels a bit sore. This is normal and should subside within 3-4 days. If it doesn’t, or it gets worse, you will need to see your dental team for a check-up.
Is the tooth dead afterwards?
Not at all!
Many people worry that having endodontics performed will kill the tooth, but this is not the case. You will still be able to eat with it, grip food and chew with it as you did before and it will not turn black.
Will I need multiple appointments?
This will depend on multiple factors.
If you are having a root canal performed on a tooth with 2 roots, it can take multiple appointments to complete it. Also, prior to beginning the treatment, your dental team will take X-rays to assess if the roots of your teeth are complicated; this can include roots that are long, twisted or even tangled. In some extreme cases, you may need to see an endodontic specialist to have the treatment completed.
And finally, if you have had an extreme infection or breakage, there may be some restoration work required to accompany your root canal. This can include a crown, veneers or even composite bonding. These are used to add strength back to the tooth and will go a long way towards preserving the work.
Can I have a root canal performed if I am pregnant?
Generally speaking, a root canal is considered a safe procedure during pregnancy.
While you will require an X-ray to determine if a root canal is needed, in a single sitting, this is considered safe by many prenatal research papers and professionals. However, you should always inform your dental team if you are pregnant before undertaking any kind of X-ray, so they can offer you appropriate precautions.
Is there any specialist aftercare needed?
Not really; simply go home, relax and take pain relief as required.
However, to reduce the chances of another root canal being needed, you will need to maintain good oral hygiene and stay in regular contact with your dental team. This will allow them to detect any issues (such as decay) before this intervention is needed.