You've probably heard a friend joke that they'd rather have a root canal than do something they find unpleasant. Root canals definitely have a bad reputation, but fortunately, the jokes just aren't true. Thanks to effective pain control measures, you won't feel a thing during a root canal. Dr. David DeFurio and Dr. Stephen Norovich of Southwest Dental Group in Racine, WI, share some information about root canal treatment.
Why are root canals needed?
The pulp, found in the core of every tooth, contains nerves, blood vessels and tissue. If it becomes infected or inflamed, you'll be faced with the decision to extract the tooth or undergo root canal therapy. Infections in the pulp can occur if you have extensive tooth decay. Decay can be a problem if you have an untreated cavity, or if you have small cracks in your tooth that allow bacteria to enter. In some cases, you may also need a root canal if you've injured or broken your tooth.
Pain is one of the most common symptoms when you need a root canal. Pain can be constant or may flare up after you eat or drink a hot or cold food or beverage. Chewing on the tooth, brushing it or applying pressure with your finger can trigger the pain. If you develop an infection in your tooth, you may also develop a fever and notice swelling in your jaw and face, swollen lymph nodes, inflamed gums or even a bump that looks a little like a pimple on the gum.
What is a root canal really like?
Root canals are more complicated than fillings and take longer, but you'll find the process to be very similar. Before the root canal begins, you'll receive injections of a local anesthetic to ensure that you are pain-free and comfortable during the procedure. After the anesthetic takes effect, a dental drill is used to expose your tooth pulp.
Although removing the pulp is a crucial step in root canal therapy, it's also important to clean and shape the root canals that extend from the crown of your tooth to the roots. As you can imagine, cleaning those small canals requires equally tiny instruments.
Gutta percha or another rubber-based material is added to the tooth to fill it, but you may also need a crown to help strengthen the tooth. Although you will probably experience some sensitivity for a few days after you leave our Racine office, your tooth will feel much better in just a week or two.
Not sure if you need a root canal? Call Dr. DeFurio and Dr. Norovich of Southwest Dental Group in Racine, WI, at (262) 632-3156 to schedule an appointment.