What is a Root Canal?
Root canals become necessary when teeth are too damaged by cavities or infections to have just a regular filling done. When the nerve of the tooth becomes infected, or the pulp – the soft area inside the tooth – becomes inflamed, root canals are done to eliminate the infection and problem.
Oftentimes before a Root Canal, antibiotics will be prescribed to get rid of the infection. This is an important part of the procedure since performing a root canal on an infected tooth could lead to the infection spreading to other teeth or parts of the body.
Root Canal Procedure
The root canal is done by removing the nerve inside the tooth, along with the pulp of the tooth, are removed. The inside of the tooth is then cleaned and sealed. This allows for the problematic nerve to be done away with, leaving the patient with fewer problems, and no more pain.
When do I need a root canal?
Although they are common, root canals are less common than traditional dental fillings. Removing the nerve of a tooth is a serious procedure that is only necessary when the tooth is badly infected. You will experience the following symptoms:
- Tooth Pain – Tooth pain or sensitivity, especially when it comes to hot and cold foods, is a good indicator that your tooth is probably infected.
- Fever – If you have a high temperature reading coupled with tooth pain or other symptoms, you probably have an infected tooth.
- Gum Inflammation – Inflammation right above the tooth or a ‘pocket’ of inflammation usually signals infection.
- Gum Bleeding – Bleeding, specifically in one place, can mean infection
In any case, all of the above symptoms are serious and should be checked promptly by a dentist as soon as possible.
Is the procedure painful?
Probably the biggest misconception about root canals is that they are extremely painful. This comes mainly from people with very sensitive teeth who have undergone the procedure, or dentists using insufficient amounts of anesthetic to freeze the mouth.
Dr. Barney has performed many root canals and will always make sure you are comfortable and properly ‘frozen’ before undergoing the procedure. If you are worried about being very sensitive to pain, bring this up before your procedure. There are many ways that your pain can be minimized and eliminated, so you can comfortably have your tooth taken care of.
How can I relax before my root canal?
During your initial visit with Dr. Barney, he can provide you with some helpful relaxation techniques, and discuss with you how to lessen any pain involved in the procedure. Be sure to bring up your concerns at your check-up so you can make a plan beforehand. Some things you can try before your appointment:
- Breathing – Paying close attention to your breaths, and slowly breathing in and out can make your muscles relax, making you feel less anxious in turn. Slowly take deep breaths in, counting to three, and release your breath counting to four.
- Visualization – Visualizing your procedure before actually having it done can help ease anxieties you may have about it, and give you solutions to problems that may worry you. For example, if you are worried about experiencing pain during the procedure, visualize everything going ok, then think about what will happen if you do feel pain (you can tell the dentist, and he will give you more anesthetic, or help you in some way)
- Discuss! – Discussing your root canal and all the steps it entails with Dr. Barney beforehand is the best way to ensure it goes well, and you know what to expect.
Schedule a consultation
If you are interested in learning more about root canal, and would like to see if you are a good candidate, call (304) 754-8803 to schedule a consultation at our office in Hedgesville, WV.