Many people are nervous about getting a root canal, but modern root canals are comfortable and relatively pain-free thanks to anesthesia and sedation. Performed in time, root canals can save your tooth and prevent a dangerous infection from spreading to other parts of your body.
At Albany Smiles in Albany, New York, Dr. Andrew Frank, and his team safely and regularly perform root canals, quickly returning their patients to health and well-being.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is an endodontic treatment to repair and save a damaged or infected tooth rather than removing it. The name ‘root canal’ comes from what happens during the procedure. The canals inside the tooth’s root are cleaned, disinfected, filled, and sealed, eliminating bacteria and preventing reinfection of the tooth.
What are the signs that I may need a root canal?
Many symptoms may indicate that you may need a root canal. If you have any of the following symptoms, please immediately contact Albany Smiles.
- Persistent pain that is felt in the tooth, jaw, face, or even in other teeth
- Pain when you chew, bite down or apply pressure to the tooth
- Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- Darkening or discoloration of the tooth
- Discolored gums
- Swollen gums
- Visible chips or cracks in your teeth
- A ‘pimple’ or bump on your gums
- A chipped or cracked tooth
- A tooth that wiggles back and forth
- Sometimes, no symptoms are present
Will root canal treatment be painful?
No. Years ago, a root canal may have been painful, but with modern technology and anesthesia, you can expect to be comfortable during your procedure. An untreated tooth infection is far more painful than a root canal.
What happens if I don’t get a root canal?
Nothing good. If you are told you need a root canal, then the pulp of your tooth is infected. The infection can then spread to your gums and jawbone. If still left untreated, you can lose your tooth and part of your jaw. In very severe cases, the infection can threaten your life. And, of course, you will be in terrible pain at every stage.
How is a root canal performed?
First, your tooth will be isolated. After being numbed, an opening extending down into the pulp is made in the crown of the tooth. The pulp is removed and the root canal is cleaned and shaped to hold the filling. At this point, the canal may either be permanently filled and sealed, or filled with medication to reduce infection. The tooth may be placed with a temporary filling or left open to drain. At your next appointment, the interior of the canal is sterilized and then permanently filled and sealed. X-rays will be taken throughout this procedure to ensure the canal is smooth and free of infected pulp. Dr. Frank may recommend placing a crown on your tooth to help strengthen it.
What should I expect after a root canal?
For a few days following the procedure, the tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection prior to the procedure. Follow the directions we give you at the office, brush, and floss as usual, and see Dr. Frank regularly.
If you are still nervous about getting a root canal or have additional questions, please call Albany Smiles anytime. We understand that procedures like root canals can be daunting, and we want to ensure you have all the information you need.