Root canals are something that many people fear. They have a reputation for being painful — but that’s not the case. Dr. Drew Shulman, a dentist in Northeast Philadelphia, answers some frequently asked questions about root canals and explains what you need to know to fully understand root canals.
Frequently Asked Questions About Root Canals
Q: What actually is a root canal?
A: A root canal is actually a part of your tooth. It’s the hollow part in the center of your tooth that holds the dental pulp and nerves. However, when most people mention a root canal, they’re talking about a root canal procedure.
When this dental pulp gets infected, it can cause a lot of harm to your tooth. You may even lose it if you let it go. A root canal procedure is done to clean out the infected material inside of the tooth and to make sure that further infection is prevented.
Q: How much does a root canal actually hurt?
A: Many patients describe a root canal as feeling like nothing more than getting a dental filling. As with fillings, a local anesthetic is applied so that you’re comfortable throughout the procedure. Our office also offers sedation dentistry if you suffer from dental anxiety or a medical condition that would require you to have further sedation to be comfortable during this treatment.
Root canals can actually help relieve the pain you may be feeling. The main source of pain in this instance is the infection itself. The infection swells the pulp and causes it to be inflamed, pressing against the sides of your teeth. A root canal gets rid of this infection and the pain with it.
Q: How can I tell if I need a root canal?
A: It all depends on the person. Some people have no symptoms at all. In this instance, a root canal can only really be discovered by one of your regular checkups at your Northeast Philadelphia dentist. Otherwise, one of the most common symptoms is pain. It’s often sharp and comes on suddenly, and is worse when you’re biting or chewing.
Other symptoms include increased sensitivity to hot or cold foods or drinks. Your gums may be swollen and inflamed around a specific tooth. And, you may notice that your tooth is discolored or looks darker due to the infection that’s inside it.
Q: What can I expect from the root canal procedure?
A: At a checkup or appointment you made because you were concerned, Dr. Shulman will diagnose the infection in your tooth. Another appointment will be made for the root canal procedure. A local anesthetic is applied first. Then, Dr. Shulman will drill a small hole in the back of your tooth.
This hole allows the dentist to use a special tool to remove the infected material from the tooth. The inside of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned out and then filled with a biocompatible material to stabilize the tooth. It’s sealed off to prevent further infection. Lastly, it’s covered with a custom dental crown. This allows you to have full functionality of your tooth back and blends in with the rest of your smile.
Dental Crowns at Your Dentist in Northeast Philadelphia
Root canals aren’t something you have to be afraid of. If you think you may have an infected tooth, call us or schedule an appointment online.