Hearing the words “root canal” usually strikes fear in people. But root canals don’t deserve the bad reputation they’ve received. Dr. Dhara Patel of Best Dental Spa, a dentist in Hoffman Estates, IL, explains the root canal process and why they aren’t something you need to fear.
What is a Root Canal?
Technically speaking, the root canal is a part of your tooth. It’s the hollow area inside that holds the dental pulp and nerve endings of your tooth. However, when people talk about root canals, they’re usually discussing a root canal procedure. This is done when that dental pulp gets infected and needs to be removed from inside the tooth.
How Do I Know if I Need a Root Canal?
Some people may not even have any symptoms or notice their tooth is infected. It may only be found by Dr. Patel during a routine cleaning and checkup. Most commonly, pain is the main symptom of an infected tooth. It can come on sharp and suddenly and is worse when you’re trying to bite or chew with it.
Increased and prolonged sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages is common as well. The tooth itself may be discolored by the infection. Infected pulp makes the tooth appear darker. The gums around the tooth can get swollen, red, and inflamed. Your face or cheek may swell, depending on the tooth that’s infected.
The Root Canal Process
Dr. Patel will examine the tooth and make sure that a root canal is the best course of action for your particular case. Another appointment will be scheduled that’s dedicated to the procedure. The area around the tooth will be numbed with a local anesthetic. If you suffer from dental anxiety, certain other conditions, or request it, sedation dentistry can be provided so you’re calm throughout the entire procedure.
Once your mouth is numb and you’re comfortable, Dr. Patel will drill a small hole in the back of your tooth. Using a special instrument, she’ll scrape out the infected material that’s inside the tooth. To make sure everything is out, the inside of your tooth will be thoroughly cleaned. It’s filled with a biocompatible material. Usually, a dental crown is used to fully stabilize the tooth and ensure that it’s sealed off from further infection.
The pain that everyone seems to associate with a root canal is actually due to the infection itself. Dental pulp becomes swollen when it’s infected, causing pain and pressure. Once this pressure is relieved, the tooth stops hurting. Many patients compare a root canal to getting a dental filling. Their pain is usually helped by the procedure, not made worse.
Root Canals at Your Hoffman Estates, Illinois Dentist
Do you have a tooth that you think may be infected? Call us or schedule an appointment online.