At Riverstone Family Dentistry we understand that when most patients hear the words "root canal" fear arises within them. We believe this is mainly because you don't know what to expect when you need a root canal. This is why we want to share some information with you - in hopes of helping you feel more comfortable with this procedure if you need it.
The Root Canal Procedure
When you have a root canal, you'll usually need anywhere up to three visits to our office. This will honestly depend on the difficulty of the canal system, how many there are (1 in front teeth, 3 in back teeth), and your roots' curvature.
Additionally, if any of these areas are infected, you may require more visits. Typically, each appointment will last about 90 minutes. During this appointment, we'll give you some local anesthesia to numb this area of your mouth then hang a microscope over it. Once set up, we'll use root canal files to remove the bacteria, pulp (the soft area in the middle of your tooth where the nerve, blood vessels, and connective tissue are all found), decayed nerve tissue, and any related debris from your tooth.
Pain and Healing After a Root Canal
Root canals are used to treat the diseased pulp (a.k.a. tissue) so that we can preserve the rest of your tooth. Since you're given an anesthetic before we start the procedure, you typically won't feel any more pain than you would when we fill a tooth. This is good news since a root canal is meant to help you avoid any pain that's involved with having a tooth that's either fractured or decaying.
However, afterward you will experience some mild to moderate pain for a few days. While this is normal, anything more is something you'll want to bring to our attention so that we can bring you in for an appointment. Throughout this time (and moving forward) you'll want to make sure you practice good oral hygiene habits (e.g., brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash).
Immediately following your root canal or when you're experiencing some slight pain from it, you'll want to eat soft foods like eggs, yogurt, ice cream, or milkshakes. You can also eat some soft foods like mangoes, peaches, and bananas. Applesauce and pudding are other great options you may wish to consider.
What Happens if you Don't get the Root Canal you Need?
This isn't a treatment you should even attempt to avoid. Doing so will cause the infection that's in your tooth and its root to spread to the surrounding areas of your mouth and its tissues. This will cause an infection that will result in pain and swelling. The infected pulp inside your tooth can also cause other serious complications when left untreated.
This is why Riverstone Family Dentistry at (360) 326-1443 wants you to know that you don't have to fear to have a root canal. Contact us today to get the treatment you need so you can reclaim your oral health and start feeling better overall.