There may come a time when you need to make a dental appointment for a root canal. Now, that phrase can sound awfully scary, especially if you’re someone who has never heard of a root canal before. Root canals are a very normal procedure for dentists or endodontists to perform. In fact, more than 15 million root canals are performed each year, and over 41,000 are done every single day. Here is a little Root Canal 101:
Why Would I Need a Root Canal?
A root canal is a type of medical treatment that is used when the inside of your tooth becomes damaged or infected. The soft tissue inside of a tooth is called the pulp and it is made of blood vessels, connective tissue and nerves. Sometimes a crack or hole in the enamel of your tooth can cause the pulp inside to get infected and require a root canal.
How is a Root Canal Performed?
A root canal allows a dentist to open up the damaged tooth and clean out all the infected pulp. Then this cleaned area is filled and sealed with a rubbery material called gutta percha, and a crown is placed over the tooth to offer extra support and make it look like a natural tooth. Today’s root canal can normally be done in just a few hours and sometimes in only one appointment. Before the procedure the tooth is numbed, so you will not feel any pain.
How Should I Care for My Tooth Afterwards?
The tooth may feel sensitive or sore after the procedure for a few days and your dentist may prescribe some pain medication. It is advisable, however, to try not to chew too much on the tooth that had the root canal until your crown is permanently affixed. The tooth will be fragile and you do not want to risk causing any more damage. With proper oral care, your tooth that received a root canal will last many years.