If a root canal is in your future, you’ve got a lot of company: Roughly 15 million root canals are performed every year in the United States — that’s about 41,000 per day on average. That’s a lot of root canals — and a lot of teeth saved from deep decay and infection.
Still, despite the benefits of root canal treatment, plenty of people worry about having a root canal, mainly based on misinformation about what to expect both during and after the procedure.
The truth: Having a root canal isn’t really that much different from having a cavity filled. And just like a “regular” filling, a root canal plays a vital role in preserving your healthy teeth and preventing bone infection and tooth loss.
As a top-ranked dentist in Reston, Virginia, Aramesh Darvishian, DDS helps patients at Perfect Smiles of Reston preserve their healthy teeth with state-of-the-art root canal therapy featuring optimal pain management. Here’s what she wants you to know about root canals.
Most people think of their teeth in terms of what they see: the hard outer part of the tooth. But there’s more to your tooth than the visible enamel surface.
Deep inside the center of your tooth, there’s at least one canal filled with tooth pulp — tissue that contains the blood vessels and nerves that support tooth health. The canals extend from the center of the tooth down to the top of the tooth root.
When you have a cavity, it starts in the outer enamel part of your tooth. Catch it early enough, and Dr. Darvishian treats it with a filling (or maybe an inlay or overlay — larger “types” of fillings). But if decay or infection happens in the central part of your tooth, you’ll need more than a filling.
That’s where a root canal can help. Root canal treatment uses special techniques to access the inner part of your tooth so decayed, damaged pulp can be removed. By eliminating that damaged tissue, root canals save your natural tooth, preventing further damage or tooth extraction.
Prior to your root canal, Dr. Darvishian numbs your tooth with a local anesthetic, and if you’re very tense, provides a sedative to help you relax. Once the tooth is anesthetized, she uses special techniques to access the inner part of the tooth where the infected pulp is located.
Next, Dr. Darvishian removes the diseased pulp and cleans the canal, applying a special sealant to prevent future damage. Then, she fills the canal with a special type of filling designed to strengthen the tooth structure. Finally, she puts a temporary crown over the tooth to protect it while a permanent crown is made at a lab.
After the anesthetic wears off, you’ll probably have some soreness and mild swelling around the tooth for a day or two. An ice pack and over-the-counter pain relievers help relieve any discomfort you might have. You’ll also want to avoid chewing or biting directly on the temporary crown if possible.
Once the permanent crown is made — a process that typically takes a week or two — you’ll come back to the office so Dr. Darvishian can replace the temporary crown with the permanent one, adjusting it and polishing it for a perfect fit.
Don’t let misinformation keep you from getting the dental care you need to maintain your beautiful, healthy smile. If you have deep decay or infection, a root canal could be just what you need to avoid tooth loss and continue to enjoy optimal oral health.
To learn more about root canal treatment at Perfect Smiles of Reston, call 703-436-9461 or book an appointment online with Dr. Darvishian today.