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Ask a Dentist: 3 Questions About Root Canals Answered

December 12, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — drthompson @ 6:20 pm
woman in dental chair with toothache

You’ve been having a raging toothache for several days now. It got to the point where it interfered with your ability to just live your daily life. Chewing and even smiling were nearly unbearable. You took this to your dentist, who said you need a root canal in Corpus Christi. You undoubtedly have some questions. Luckily, your dentist is here to answer them.

Is a Root Canal Absolutely Necessary?

For other medical conditions, it’s usually easy to decide if you need a certain procedure done. You could take a simple blood test and determine what, if any, treatment is necessary. But when it comes to root canals, it’s not so cut and dry. Your dentist in Corpus Christi will usually rely on your description of your pain to diagnose a problem with your tooth.

For example, if your tooth’s sensitivity to cold foods and drinks doesn’t subside after the cold stimulus is removed, you might need a root canal. Lingering pain could indicate an infection in the pulp of your tooth (the inner layer where the nerves and blood vessels are located). At that point, the tooth is unlikely to recover on its own, and it’s best if the nerve is removed.

Are Root Canals Painful?

Thanks to local anesthetic, you shouldn’t be much discomfort at all during the procedure. In fact, it should feel pretty similar to getting a standard filling. The only element of a root canal that could be considered uncomfortable is the fact that you have to hold your mouth open for at least an hour. However, it will be well worth it for your toothache to be gone.

After your root canal, you might experience some soreness. Let’s talk about how to best manage it.

What Should You Do After Getting a Root Canal?

Depending on who your dentist is, you might get your tooth restored with a filling or crown that day, or during a separate visit. If your dentist suggests getting it on a second visit, be sure to book that appointment as soon as possible. Teeth that have been treated with root canal therapy are more prone to fracture without some kind of restoration to protect them.

As a result, you shouldn’t chew with that tooth until you have had it restored. Even after that, you might want to avoid using that tooth to eat, as it could still be sensitive. You can manage pain and any potential swelling by applying a cold compress to 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off as needed. You could also take over-the-counter pain medications as directed on the bottle.

Root canals have a scary reputation, but don’t worry. Now that you’re armed with more knowledge of the procedure, you have nothing to be afraid of!

About the Author

Dr. John T. Thompson earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Baylor University’s College of Dentistry in 1985. Since then, he has maintained active memberships in the Academy of General Dentistry and the Texas Dental Association. In fact, he was even nominated for the Academy of General Dentistry’s Texas Dentist of the Year in 2016! His practice offers root canals as a way to painlessly cure your toothaches. To learn more, contact Dr. Thompson’s office at (361) 242-3151.

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