For a long time, the term “root canal” carried a negative connotation, but the common misconceptions associated with endodontic treatment have been invalidated. Due to anesthetics, modern technologies, and precision techniques, the days of painful root canal procedures are gone. Today, the treatment truly relieves pain. Patients considering a root canal may not know what to expect, so Drs. Thanasi and Maria Loukas seek to answer other important questions you may have regarding this endodontic procedure.
Q: Why do I need a root canal?
Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp inside the sterile chamber of a tooth becomes infected and inflamed. The pulp is comprised of nerves and blood vessels, and it is through the nerve in the pulp that temperature and pain are perceived. An infection affecting the pulp can be caused by deep decay or trauma.
Q: What are the symptoms of a root canal infection?
Again, pain and temperature are perceived through the pulp, so sharp, intense pain while chewing could be a sign of infection. Other symptoms include increased sensitivity to hot or cold, a lingering dull ache, tenderness, or swelling of the gums around the affected tooth. If you experience any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Thanasi Loukas or Dr. Maria Loukas as soon as possible. If root canal treatment is required, damage to the tooth and the pain you experience will only worsen over time.
Q: What occurs during a root canal procedure?
First, the patient will be administered anesthesia to numb the tooth and the surrounding area, which will relieve pain and make the procedure more comfortable. The dentist will create a small opening in the surface of the tooth to gain access to the pulp. Then, after removing infected tissue from the inside of the tooth, the canal will be cleaned and disinfected before being filled with a root canal material, called gutta percha. This will seal the canals and deter infection. The dentist will secure a crown over your tooth to complete your appointment.
Q: What can I expect after the procedure?
Your tooth will feel tender and sensitive for a few days, and you should eat soft food for 48 hours following endodontic treatment. We recommend chewing on the untreated side of your mouth, because the treated tooth will have contact sensitivity. Then, a follow-up appointment will be scheduled.
About the Authors: To schedule an appointment with Loukas General Dentistry, please call (847) 696-1919. Our office is located conveniently near the intersection of Cumberland and Higgins in Park Ridge, Illinois.