Top 6 Root Canal Questions &Amp; Answers

The phrase "root canal" is sometimes associated with pain and discomfort. But what many people don't know is that a root canal can be a relatively painless procedure. If you're considering a root canal, or are just curious about the procedure, read on for answers to some of the most common questions about root canals.

What is a root canal?

A root canal is a procedure that is designed to save a tooth that is badly damaged by decay or an injury like a crack. To understand why this procedure is necessary, it's helpful to understand the structure of teeth and the function of the root canal system.

The crown of your tooth (the part above the gum line) contains the hard, protective enamel. But the tooth isn't just a hard, dead mineral. The bulk of the tooth is living material organized into thousands of tiny tubes called dentinal tubules. These dentinal tubules contain cells that produce dentin, which makes up the bulk of the tooth beneath the outer enamel layer.

The inside of each tube contains blood vessels that bring nutrients to the cells of the tooth, and nerves that help you sense hot, cold, pressure, or pain.

The word "canal" in the root canal refers to these tiny tubes.

What should you not do before a root canal?

Don't smoke. Smoking can slow down the healing process because it decreases blood flow in your body's circulation.

Don't eat or drink anything but water for hours before you have a root canal. This will help ensure that bacteria are removed from the area to be treated, which will minimize the need for antibiotics after the procedure.

How much time do you need to recover from a root canal?

Most people return to work and daily activities the day after a root canal. Because it can be uncomfortable for you to eat and/or drink until your mouth has healed, we recommend that you start your diet with soft foods like pudding or mashed potatoes.

After the anesthetic wears off, most people feel no pain. You may experience some soreness the first night after your procedure, but this should subside by morning.

If the discomfort persists, you can take over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to ease any pain or discomfort. If there is an infection, however, antibiotics are usually prescribed by your dentist. The dentists at Yuma Smiles go over the procedure in great detail.

What should you not do after a root canal?

Don't rinse your mouth with tap water after you've had a root canal. The chlorine and fluoride in many public water supplies can irritate your mouth, increasing your risk for an infection.

Also, avoid using mouthwashes that contain alcohol because they can sting the sensitive tissues of your gums and cheeks.

If you experience any numbness or loss of feeling in your mouth or tongue, don't be alarmed. This numbness is usually temporary and should subside within a few days.

If there is any bleeding after your root canal, apply gentle pressure to the area with a cotton swab for several minutes. If this doesn't stop the bleeding, call our office immediately.

How long does a root canal take?

A root canal procedure takes about an hour if your dentist can perform it under a local anesthetic. If you require general anesthesia, the entire procedure may take longer because of the time required for you to "numb up" in the chair and recover once the procedure is finished.

How much is a root canal?

The cost of a root canal can vary depending on the number of teeth that require treatment and the type of anesthesia needed. If you're insured, your insurance company may cover some or all of the costs associated with root canal therapy.

It's important to have a good dentist that you can trust and are experienced in root canals and will go over the procedure in great detail. Most people return to work and daily activities the day after a root canal.