14 Jan Root Canals
A root canal is a procedure performed on the soft layer of the tooth beneath the enamel and dentin, known as pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, connective tissue, and nerves, which is why a problem in that area can make the tooth so sensitive, in turn leading to the common belief that having a root canal is a very painful procedure. In fact, the root canal is done to relieve the pain caused by inflammation, infection, trauma, or decay, and is often no more uncomfortable than a filling.
If you have extreme sensitivity in the teeth or gums, sensitivity to hot or cold food and drink even after it’s gone, severe pain when biting down on food, swelling in the gums, or a constant feeling of pressure in your mouth, you should consider getting a dental exam to rule out any issues, including issues in the pulp of the tooth.
During a root canal, your dentist will remove the infected or inflamed pulp, after numbing the area. Once the pulp is removed, the space is cleaned and disinfected, and then filled with a biologically inert filling, such as gutta-percha (a polymer derived from the percha tree), and sealed to prevent future infection.
Once the damaged pulp has been replaced, a crown or filling is generally necessary to protect the tooth. Beyond that, the tooth should function normally. Occasionally, following the procedure, the tooth may be sensitive for a couple of days. Your dentist will likely recommend over-the-counter pain medication to relieve any pain, and the tenderness should only be temporary.