The weather today is perfect for a nice long walk. There is a slight breeze and the sun is gentle. You, however, find yourself stuck on the couch holding a bag of ice to your cheek. Your easily ignored toothache has blossomed into full-on searing pain. You hoped a little time was all it needed, but it’s only getting worse. It’s time for you to properly get it taken care of. You hesitate though, isn’t it going to hurt? How long would it take? Our team of doctors can probably give you the relief you need with root canal therapy. Here are some common questions patients often have.
1. Why Would I Need Root Canal Therapy?
Your tooth is actually composed of layers. You’re probably familiar with the outermost layer, enamel. Just inside it is a layer of a material called dentin, and within that lies the dental pulp. This is where the nerve of your tooth resides, and this is why you are able to feel your teeth. When a cavity has been left alone for a long time or the tooth has suffered an injury, the pulp can become damaged. At this point, your tooth can become quite painful because the nerve itself has become affected. Here are some other signs you may need a root canal:
- Swelling or redness in the gums around the tooth
- Swelling or sensitivity in the cheek around the tooth
- A bump on the gums right below the tooth
The kind of pain associated with this is much more severe than that of an average toothache. At this point, you should act quickly or the tooth may need to be removed entirely. One of the best ways to save it is with root canal therapy from your endodontist in Tysons, VA.
2. What is the Procedure Like?
Root canal therapy has long been thought of as a very excruciating procedure. This is a misconception, as local anesthesia assures that you will feel no physical discomfort. The pain often associated with it honestly comes from the infection or injury itself, and root canal therapy aims to relieve it. Once you come in for root canal therapy, it involves 3 basic steps:
- An access hole will be drilled into your tooth to access the pulp.
- The damaged pulp will be removed and the area will be cleaned.
- Your tooth will be filled with a substance to support its structure and prevent it from becoming infected.
If a large amount of your tooth has been removed, you may need to return for another visit to have it fully restored with a crown.
3. How Long Does it Take?
Most of the time, root canal therapy can be completed in just one visit. The duration of the procedure depends entirely on your particular situation. Root canal therapy can generally take anywhere from 30-90 minutes. Cases that are more complicated may require two visits to treat, but more often than not, you’ll be done after just one. Your doctor will be able to give you a more exact estimate.
4. How Will It Feel Afterward?
Afterwards, your tooth may be a little more sensitive, but it will be vastly improved from how it felt when you first came into the office. Any lasting discomfort should abate in a week or so, and can be easily managed with over-the-counter medicine.
Have More Questions?
If you still have questions about root canal therapy, please give us a call. Our team at Avanti Dentistry is always ready and capable of relieving our worst tooth pain, so please don’t wait to come see us today.