Below the hard exterior of your tooth is a soft, sensitive material called pulp. A large cavity, cracked tooth or forceful blow to the tooth can damage the pulp and cause inflammation or infection. Root canal therapy is a procedure to eliminate pressure inside the tooth and removed damaged or dead pulp.
Although some characterize it as a painful procedure, root canal therapy is relatively pain-free and quick. It is often the best way to preserve a natural tooth and prevent future damage to your smile.
If Dr. Pamela Doray determines that you need a root canal, she will refer you to a local endodontist (root canal specialist). After the root canal procedure, you will return to our dental office and Dr. Doray will restore the tooth with a tooth-colored filling or dental crown. Visit our dentist in Philadelphia, PA for a root canal today.
What is a Root Canal?
Every tooth has at least one root canal, some may have 3 or more. Nerves enter at the tip of a tooth’s root and run through the center of the tooth in a small, thin root chamber. The tiny pathways meet up in the pulp chamber, which contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue.
The term “root canal” is basically “root canal therapy”, which is the actual procedure that an oral surgeon performs to eliminate infection in the pulp chamber and root canals.
Signs & Symptoms
Most patients don’t realize they have a problem until they experience pain or swelling. Here are a few signs that may indicate the need for root canal therapy:
- Pain or pressure when you bite down, chew or press on the tooth
- Sensitivity to hot or cold for more than a couple seconds
- Swelling near or around the tooth
- Discolored tooth
- Broken tooth
What to Expect During Root Canal Treatment
If you need a root canal, Dr. Doray will plan your treatment and refer you to a local endodontist for the root canal procedure. We can complete most root canal procedures in one or two visits with the endodontist. After the root canal treatment, Dr. Doray will restore your tooth with a filling or crown.
We restore most teeth that undergo root canal therapy with a dental crown to reinforce their structure and improve their appearance. Dr. Doray is one of the leading cosmetic dentists in Philadelphia. You can be sure that your tooth will be restored to optimal health, function and beauty.
Alternatives to Root Canal Therapy
A tooth extraction is the only alternative to root canal therapy for an infected tooth. The best option is to keep your original teeth whenever possible. The root canal procedure will eliminate pain and allow you to retain your tooth.
If Dr. Doray decides that root canal treatment is not what you need and that a tooth extraction is the best option, she will help you choose the best tooth replacement option. Dr. Doray can restore the missing tooth with a dental bridge or dental implant.
Root Canal FAQs
How much rest do you need after a root canal?
After a root canal procedure we recommend taking off work for at least 24 hours to rest. Rest is the best thing that you can do following a root canal procedure. Resting longer than 24 hours can speed up your recovery process.
What can you not do after a root canal?
After a root canal we recommend avoiding hot and cold food and drinks as the area may be temperature sensitive. We also recommend sticking to a soft diet until you feel comfortable chewing. This gives patients time to adjust to their root canal before chewing difficult foods.
How long does root canal treatment take to settle down?
On average, patients may take anywhere from one to three days to recover from a root canal. Some patients may take up to a week, but this is rare.
What should you not do before a root canal?
Patients should avoid alcohol and smoking for at least 24 hours before their root canal. We recommend having a small meal before your procedure, and taking an OTC pain reliever about an hour before your appointment.
Can you feel anything during a root canal?
Dentists numb the tooth and surrounding areas using local anesthetic in order to prevent any discomfort from your root canal. During your procedure you should feel zero pain, but after anesthetic has worn off it is not uncommon for patients to report mild tender pain.
Why do root canals need 2 visits?
Standard root canal procedures often require two or more appointments to complete. The first appointment will involve making an opening in the crown to provide access to the root canal, and the second will involve cleaning and disinfecting the canal to remove any infected tissue and enamel.
To learn more about root canal therapy and determine if it’s the best option for you, contact our Philadelphia dental office to schedule a visit with Dr. Pamela Doray.