Poway and Rancho Bernardo, CA
There’s something about the phrase root canal that sends panic in the eyes and minds of many patients. But like many things, understanding why your dentist recommends treatment and what to expect tends to help calm fears you may have about a particular procedure. So today on the blog, Dr. Cook discusses what it’s like to get a root canal, what to expect afterward, and why you might need one. So that way, if you ever hear your dentist recommend a root canal, you won’t sweat it.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is a common procedure used to clean out the inside of a tooth down to the root. Teeth are made of several layers – the outermost layer is the enamel. Under that is the dentin, which is a more porous, sensitive layer of the tooth. Below the dentin is the tooth’s chamber that houses the pulp or the nerve and blood supply. The pulp runs to the tip of the tooth and into the jawbone. Enamel is the protective coating over each tooth, but bacteria can erode enamel and reach the pulp if not treated with a filling. When this occurs, it could cause an infection, and you may need a root canal. A root canal is like a deep filling that cleans out the decay, infection, and pulp. Then, the tooth’s chamber is filled with a special filling material to seal out bacteria. Getting a root canal is similar to getting a filling, except it takes longer. Generally, patients report mild discomfort afterward, more so attributed to the injection site from the numbing medication administered first. In most cases, an over-the-counter pain reliever is usually enough to subside any discomfort after your procedure.
Who should get a root canal?
You might need a root canal if your tooth’s nerve becomes compromised. This may happen from extensive decay, broken tooth, large filling that fails or falls out, or if your tooth cracks. Sometimes, tooth damage occurs without affecting the nerve. In these cases, your Poway family dentist may recommend a larger filling or crown to fix the damage. However, if the tooth is painful or throbbing, it’s likely that the nerve is compromised and may require a root canal.
What happens after a root canal?
A dental crown is generally recommended following a root canal. In some cases, the dentist may prepare the tooth for the crown at the conclusion of your root canal. However, it may be recommended that you return a few weeks later to begin treatment for a dental crown. The reason a crown is needed is that removing the tooth’s pulp makes the enamel vulnerable to breaking and cracking. Therefore, a dental crown encases the entire tooth down to the gum line, preventing bacteria from infecting the tooth in the future.
Root Canals in Poway and Rancho Bernardo, California
If your tooth is damaged to the point that the nerve is compromised or infected, a root canal may be a viable option to repair your tooth and prevent an extraction. However, each case is different, so we recommend a consultation with a dentist in Poway that offers root canals to determine if this procedure is right for you. To learn more or schedule a consultation, contact Smiles by Dr. Cook by calling (858) 673-0141 or book an appointment.