What is a root canal?

A: A root canal is a laypersons' term for endodontic therapy or root canal therapy. Root canal therapy is necessary when the pulp (nerve) inside the tooth becomes irreversibly damaged or infected. This irreversible damage is a result of combined injuries that occur over the life of the tooth (decay, trauma, multiple restorations). Root canal therapy is the removal of the entire pulp throughout the root canal system (a tooth can have several roots and a canal or two within those roots), the cleaning and shaping of the canal system, and filling the canals with a polyester synthetic root canal filling and a dental sealer.

How do I know if I need a root canal?

A: A root canal may be needed if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold that lingers
  • Discomfort when chewing or biting
  • Dull ache or severe pain
  • Discomfort that wakes you up at night
  • Dr. Clyde has diagnosed the need for endodontic treatment either by clinical exam or Xray
If any of the above symptoms are present, please click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Clyde.

Will there be pain while having a root canal procedure?

A: With modern techniques and varied local anesthetic solutions it is rare to have any sensation in the tooth during treatment.

Will there be pain after having a root canal?

A: In most cases the discomfort will subside dramatically within the first 24-48 hours. Any sensitivity to cold, hot or even breathing air will be gone after your visit. Nevertheless, you may experience mild discomfort to pressure that could last for several days after treatment. Taking over the counter anti-inflammatory analgesics such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve) or aspirin (Excedrin) usually relieves this discomfort. Tylenol has been proven not to be as effective as ibuprofen and related medicines, because it does not have the anti-inflammatory component.

The most common predictor of post-treatment pain is pre-treatment pain. If the tooth is already hurting, the root canal procedure will remove the cause and allow healing to begin. During the first 72-96 hours, we will prescribe an analgesic regimen that should allow you to begin healing pain-free.

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