Root canal: those two words can strike fear into even the most seasoned dental patient. However, getting a root canal doesn’t have to be as bad as you think. Sedation dentistry can help minimize pain and discomfort during your procedure.
At Sedation Dental Center, our anesthesiologists and root canal dentists in San Diego will make sure that your root canal surgery is as painless as possible. The surgery itself won’t be so bad since you’ll be able to sleep through the entire thing, and post-procedure pain lasts only a few days. If you’re considering sedation root canal treatment, here’s what you need to know.
Why Do You Need a Root Canal?
Each one of your tooth contains soft tissue called pulp, located beneath the enamel and a hard layer called the dentin. The pulp helps the root of your tooth grow when it develops, and the pulp also contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. Fully-grown teeth can survive without the pulp since they will receive nutrients from the surrounding tissues.
When the pulp becomes inflamed or infected, that’s when you need a root canal. The inflammation or infection can be caused by a variety of factors, including deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the same tooth, large fillings, a chip or crack in the tooth, or facial trauma. When this inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause severe pain or a tooth abscess. In addition to abscesses, you may also experience swelling that can spread to the head, face, or neck; bone loss around the tip of the tooth’s root; or drainage issues that can cause a hole in the tooth.
Symptoms that may indicate the need for a root canal include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, pain due to touch or chewing, discoloration of the tooth, a persistent or recurring pimple on the gums, and drainage and tenderness of the lymph nodes or nearby gum and bone tissues. However, not everyone who needs a root canal shows symptoms, so it’s important to visit your dentist regularly so they can monitor any problems.
The Root Canal Procedure
Before your procedure, your root canal dentist in San Diego will ensure that you are fully sedated. Dr. DeLisle, a board-certified Dental Anesthesiologist, has two years of additional training treating patients with sedation dentistry, so you know you will be in capable hands. With either intravenous sedation or general anesthesia, your anesthesiologist will render you asleep or unconscious. While you’re sedated, you won’t be able to feel any pain nor will your remember the procedure. Most patients report experiencing no discomfort during the procedure itself.
Your dentist will take an X-ray of your tooth to determine if there are any signs of infection in the bone surrounding the infected tooth. They will then insert a rubber dam around your tooth to keep the area dry and free from saliva during the surgery.
The dentist will then drill a small hole into the crown of the tooth. Using very precise instruments, they will remove the infected pulp, bacteria, and any other debris from the pulp chamber and root canals. Your dentist may use water or sodium hypochlorite to periodically flush debris from the area.
After thoroughly cleaning the inside of the tooth, the dentist will fill the space with a biocompatible material. The most common material is called gutta-percha, and the dentist will combine this with an adhesive cement to create a lasting filling. Often, dentists prefer to wait a week before permanently filling the tooth. In this case, your dentist will seal the tooth with a temporary filler that will then be removed before your dentist fills it with gutta-percha.
Your tooth will need some additional restoration after the procedure to help protect and strengthen it. Until your tooth is completely restored, avoid chewing or biting with the tooth.
A Crown for Protection
After your tooth has been repaired, your root canal dentist in San Diego will cap the tooth with a crown. A crown is a tooth-shaped cap that gets cemented to your teeth, and it will help prevent further damage to your newly-repaired tooth.
With modern dental technology, we can create beautiful crowns that mirror your natural teeth. Crowns can be made from metal, porcelain fused with metal, or ceramic. A high-quality crown can last up to 15 years.
Recovering from Your Root Canal
For the first few days after your root canal procedure, some pain or discomfort is normal due to tissue inflammation. You can control this pain with over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or naproxen, but talk to your dentist about which pain reliever will be best for you. Most patients are able to return to their normal activities the day after the procedure.
Continue your normal oral hygiene routine after the surgery, including brushing twice a day, flossing, and seeing your dentist every six months.
Your tooth may feel slightly different from your other teeth at first. However, if severe pressure or pain persists for more than a few days, you should contact your dentist right away.
Root canal treatment is a highly successful procedure with a 95% success rate. Your tooth will be as good as new after treatment, functioning just like your other teeth. Most patients who undergo treatment will now have a tooth that will last them for their whole lives, sans the pain the tooth had previously been causing.
There’s no need to worry about your root canal procedure. Ultimately, taking care of a root canal as soon as possible will save you from more pain and even more potential complications. If you think you may need a root canal, contact Sedation Dental Center to make an appointment, or call us at (619) 493-4188. Our root canal dentists in San Diego will ensure that you are treated safely and effectively.