On your recent trip to the dentist, your dentist may have told you that you need a root canal. Like many adults, the whole concept of this proposed dental treatment might leave you nervous or scratching your head with questions. What are root canals? Why is my dentist recommending a root canal? Do root canals hurt?
Well, we’ve done our best to answer all of the most common questions about this endodontic procedure. As you read, you’ll find out it’s not only a common treatment but also a lot less intimidating than the old idiom implies.
Root Canal FAQs
1. What are root canals?
A root canal procedure is performed when the pulp inside your tooth becomes damaged or infected. Removing the pulp can help prevent further complications from occurring. And don’t worry, your fully developed tooth can live on without the pulp because the tissues surrounding the tooth are strong and nourishing. Most importantly, eliminating the infection can help prevent spread to other parts of your body.
2. Why is my dentist recommending a root canal?
Your dentist or endodontist will suggest a root canal when your infection doesn’t seem to be going away on its own and when your tooth becomes considered at risk. The condition around your tooth is often caused by things such as an injury to the tooth. If the inflammation or infection isn’t treated correctly by a dental professional, it can lead to an abscess and a toothache, or even eventual tooth loss.
3. Do root canals hurt?
Many of our patients ask this question, and we’re happy to say that modern root canals are nothing like those of the past. Though you may feel some tooth sensitivity after the procedure, the discomfort will usually be relieved through over-the-counter pain relievers. In addition, most patients who undergo modern root canal procedures report that they are comfortable throughout and after the treatment.
4. What can I eat afterwards?
Though most patients indicate that a root canal treatment today is a breeze, you will likely want to stick to some soft foods for the first day after your treatment. Try to avoid foods that require a lot of chewing. Soft foods such as applesauce, eggs, fish, and yogurt are easy to chew and provide other much-needed protein, vitamins, and minerals that are good for your body.
That said, your dentist may tell you to avoid eating for a few hours after your treatment. This is often because of the numbing medication that may need to wear off before you eat.
5. What are the signs that I might need a root canal?
Though your dentist will perform a dental examination each time you visit, there may be signs and symptoms that occur between appointments that can alert you to a problem. Specifically, the signs that you might need a root canal include the following:
- Pain when chewing or biting
- Pimple-like bumps on your gums
- Cracked or chipped tooth
- Temperature sensitivity to hot or cold that lingers even after the stimulus has been taken away
- Pink, swollen, or otherwise sore gums
- Darkening of the gums
6. How much do root canals cost?
As with most dental treatments, the cost of a root canal procedure will vary based on your particular situation. For example, molars are more complex to treat, so the prices can be a bit higher. This said, most dental insurance policies will provide at least partial coverage for root canals. Dental membership plans also offer discounts on necessary dental care procedures.
Also, it is essential to understand that root canals and restoration of your natural tooth will be far less expensive and far more comfortable than other dental procedures such as tooth extraction. When we extract your tooth, a dental implant or bridge is required to ensure that you can maintain chewing function and that your remaining teeth do not shift and get out of alignment.
7. Will I need a dental crown after my root canal?
In some cases, your dentist might recommend the placement of a dental crown after your root canal. The need for a crown will depend on the location of the impacted teeth within your mouth. For example, teeth towards the back of your mouth, such as your molars, are needed for chewing and might require the extra reinforcement that a crown provides. On the other hand, your incisors and canines toward the front of your mouth, which are used for biting and tearing but not chewing, may not need a crown.
Your dentist will determine whether a crown is necessary and will recommend the appropriate follow-up restorative dental procedures. But don’t worry, a crown treatment doesn’t need to mean many additional trips to the dentist. The dentists at Tomasik Family Dental provide state-of-the-art Cerec one-day crown technology. With this modern technology, we can give a tooth repair that appears life-like and natural, and you won’t need to endure several weeks with a temporary crown.
Schedule your checkup with Tomasik Family Dental.
If you are experiencing tooth or gum pain or know that you require a root canal, now is the time to request an appointment with Tomasik Family Dental in Bee Cave, Texas. There are many benefits to seeing a family dentist and we’re convinced you’ll know why the moment you step into our offices. The Tomasik Family Dental team of dentists provides a full range of dental care, including general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry. And we provide the technology, comfort, personalized care, and convenience that you should expect with any dental treatment, especially a root canal.