What to Expect Before, During, and After Your Root Canal

There isn’t anyone who finds out they need a root canal and feels thrilled. Instead, you probably have lots of questions and maybe a little fear. But despite what you may have heard, root canals are similar to routine fillings, and we can do the procedure in just one or two appointments. 

Meriem Boukadoum, DDS, here at 54th Street Dental is experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to performing root canals. She and our staff work hard to make sure you have the most comfortable experience possible and, most importantly, end up with healthy, strong teeth. 

Reasons for a root canal

The space inside your tooth that contains dental pulp and nerves is called the root canal, giving the procedure its name. If that area becomes infected or decayed, a root canal can preserve your tooth. 

Usually, a root canal is the best option to preserve your tooth and make the pain stop when decay has reached the nerve in your tooth. Dr. Boukadoum saves your tooth by removing the dead or dying tissue and eliminating bacteria. 

You may have the following symptoms if you have an infected tooth: 

If you have any of these symptoms, you may be putting your tooth at risk. Don’t wait, because the problem will get worse and you’ll be in more pain. 

The actual procedure

Before your root canal, we take an X-ray to see how the root of your tooth looks and to make sure the infection hasn’t spread to your jawbone. Once Dr. Boukadoum decides to move forward with the root canal, she uses anesthesia to numb the area around your tooth so you’re comfortable. 

Often, we place a dental dam, which is a small sheet of rubber, around your tooth to keep the area clean and free of saliva while Dr. Boukadoum works.

When the anesthesia has taken effect, Dr. Boukadoum creates a small opening in your tooth using a special tool called a root canal file and performs a pulpectomy. During the pulpectomy, she removes all of the diseased dental pulp, decayed tissue, and bacteria. Then she thoroughly cleans the area to remove any debris and seals the opening in your tooth. 

If Dr. Boukadoum thinks you need a dental crown to protect the tooth, she takes an impression and orders a permanent crown. At a later appointment, she places the crown. 

Recovering from a root canal

The anesthesia lasts about two to four hours. And although you may talk funny until it wears off, you may return to work or school after the procedure. 

Avoid chewing hard foods right after having a root canal. If you have a temporary crown, you should avoid chewing on that side of your mouth until you get your permanent crown. 

It’s unlikely you’ll need more than over-the-counter pain relief after a root canal. Most people experience only mild pain or sensitivity following the procedure. Continuing or increasing pain or swelling merits a call to our office. 

If you need a root canal, sooner is better than later. Book your appointment today at 54th Street Dental. You can request an appointment online, or give us a call.

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