Although they sometimes get a bad rap, root canals are an amazing procedure that can help to save teeth that would otherwise have to be pulled entirely. Root canals are usually a two-step procedure, where patients come in to the office to have the tooth cleaned out via a root canal, and then a second time to have the tooth restored. Since you'll need to take some time healing from the procedure before a restoration or crown is placed on the tooth, it's a good idea to know what to expect.
Here's an idea of how your tooth will feel, function, and need to be cared for while you're waiting for the restoration.
You'll Need to Protect Your Tooth
When a root canal is finished, dentists seal off the tooth with a temporary filling. Unlike standard cavity fillings, this filling is not intended to be permanent. Instead, it's simply protecting the interior of the tooth while your dentist waits for your new crown or other restorative method to be shipped to their office or for your mouth to heal fully.
Your tooth will be able to withstand drinking and slight pressure, but you should make an effort to avoid grinding your teeth and biting with the tooth in question. Using the tooth excessively during this time could cause the filling to crack or fall out, which would require another visit to the dentist to repair it.
You'll Experience Side Effects
For most people, the side effects from a root canal are relatively minor. You may experience some slight discomfort in the days following the procedure, but this can typically be mitigated with either an over the counter oral pain reliever or topical pain reliever.
In addition, like with all fillings, your tooth may not feel like it matches the surrounding teeth at first. You may feel as though your bite has changed. Rest assured that your dentist has taken every precaution to make the filling match the surrounding teeth and to emulate the shape of your healthy tooth. In a few days, you should adjust the sensation.
You'll Have to Step Up on Hygiene
Taking care of your teeth and gums following a root canal is extremely important. You've just had an infection removed from the deep recesses of your tooth, and possibly your gums and jaw bone.
If your dentist has specific instructions, make sure to follow them. In most cases, you can resume your standard oral hygiene practices as soon as the procedure is complete. Make sure to floss and brush; if you don't like flossing, you can use a water flosser instead. Be gentle with your teeth and gums, as you may experience some mild discomfort at first. Always use soft pressure and avoid pressing down hard. If your gums bleed over a long period of time, contact a dentist.
A root canal is a safe procedure that can help to restore full function of a tooth that would otherwise be lost. Once your tooth has received its new crown or restoration, you won't be able to tell the difference between your old tooth and the new repaired tooth, and you'll be pain-free. To learn more about the process, contact resources like Webster John B DDS.