It’s true that tooth decay and infection fueling your need for a root canal can be exquisitely painful. However, the procedure is relatively painless, and recovery is quick. In addition, most people find that an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) is all they need to manage post-procedure discomfort.
Samuel Sigmon, DDS, and his team at Full Circle Dental Care in Del City, Oklahoma, specialize in general and cosmetic dentistry for the entire family. Their patient-focused services include dental implants, implant-supported dentures, Invisalign®, oral surgery, root canals, and sedation dentistry.
Check these facts about root canals and why you shouldn’t dread this pain-relieving procedure.
Why would I need a root canal?
A root canal restores the strength and usefulness of a badly infected or damaged tooth. During the procedure, Dr. Sigmon removes the tooth’s soft center (pulp), which contains the nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels that initially helped the tooth develop and grow. He then fills the empty area with a rubbery dental compound called gutta-percha, alleviating your pain and leaving the crown portion of the tooth intact.
Conditions that may damage tooth pulp, leading to a root canal, include:
- A chipped or cracked tooth
- Deep decay from an untreated cavity
- Multiple dental procedures on the tooth
- A blow or other injury that damaged the pulp
Depending on the amount of decay, Dr. Sigmon may recommend capping the treated tooth with an artificial crown to restore full function and strength. Artificial crowns mimic the size, natural color, and reflective nature of surrounding teeth, making them difficult to discern once they’re in place.
What happens during a root canal procedure?
Dr. Sigmon performs root canals in-office at Full Circle Dental Care. A topical numbing agent and local anesthetic injected before the procedure eliminates pain during a root canal.
Dr. Sigmon also offers a range of sedation dentistry options that help you remain calm and relaxed throughout dental treatments. Please be sure to discuss dental anxiety with Dr. Sigmon before scheduling your procedure.
Once the anesthetic takes effect, Dr. Sigmon creates a small opening at the top of the tooth, exposing the infected or damaged pulp. He then carefully removes the pulp from the canals in your tooth. Next, he may coat the area with an antibiotic to eradicate infection before filling the space with gutta-percha.
Dr. Sigmon then closes the opening with a temporary filling to protect the inner tooth from saliva and other debris. You can expect to return in a few days for X-rays to ensure the infection has resolved and for a permanent filling or crown placement.
Most people return to routine activities the day after a root canal. Pain following the procedure is typically minimal and generally responds well to over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
How long does a root canal last?
Provided you practice good oral hygiene with daily brushing, flossing, and routine dental exams as recommended by Dr. Sigmon, a root canal is a restorative procedure that can last a lifetime.
Don’t ignore tooth pain. Instead, schedule a visit today with Dr. Sigmon at Full Circle Dental Care. Call the office or request more information online.