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What to Expect During and After Your Root Canal

Apr 01, 2023
A root canal is a much-dreaded dental procedure, but it’s actually a tooth-preserving treatment that rids you of the terrible pain of a badly decayed, infected tooth. In actuality, you’re kept comfortable while the source of the pain is removed. Learn more

The root canal is a dental procedure that is joked about frequently, presented as one of the worst things one can endure. Think, “Sitting through that meeting was worse than a root canal.”

But, in reality, root canals are procedures that remedy severe tooth pain that arises because of damaged or infected tooth pulp, which is the soft layer of tissue on the interior of your teeth that the harder layers, like enamel, protect. Root canals also save teeth. 

The attentive team at Plaza Dental Group is committed to your oral health and comfort, so whether you visit our West Des Moines, Iowa, office for a root canal, a routine cleaning, or a cosmetic procedure, you’re in the best hands. Our entire team approaches your care with the goal of providing education as well as the most advanced treatments available. We partner with you in support of your oral health. 

What prompts the need for a root canal?

If your dentist recommends a root canal for you, it’s usually because your tooth pulp becomes infected and inflamed due to a long-untended cavity or as the result of a trauma, like a cracked tooth.

The classic symptoms that lead to a root canal include:

  • Tooth pain that doesn’t go away
  • Pain that extends beyond your affected tooth and out to other teeth or your jaw
  • A tooth abscess that emerges due to infection, which is a pocket that contains pus
  • Pain that’s worsened when pressure is applied to the area around your affected tooth
  • Sensitivity to cold and heat in the area of your infection 
  • A swollen jaw, which can occur if pus gets trapped
  • Swollen gums

When you have an infected tooth, you might also notice your tooth darkening or becoming loose. Even one of these symptoms is hard to take, but if you suffer with multiple symptoms, this type of infection can seem unbearable.

The good news is that our dentists are experts in performing root canals, since many people receive them. In fact, more than 15 million root canals are done each year in the United States.

What are the root canal procedure and the aftermath like?

SInce your comfort is our top priority at Plaza Dental Group, when you come in for a root canal procedure, we administer local anesthesia to numb the area where your root canal will be done  so you don’t feel a thing. Your dentist may use a dental dam, which is a device that isolates your tooth so no saliva reaches it. 

If you have dental anxiety, we’re particularly sensitive to that and can offer a range of helpful ways to make you feel better and calmer about your visit with us, including a game-changing device that helps to relax you. NuCalm is a device that uses cranial electrostimulation to relax your brain waves into the first stage of sleep. This helps you to relax without the use of drugs. You won’t notice the current it produces; you’ll just be calmer and less worried about what’s happening in your mouth.  

After drilling an opening into your tooth, your dentist then cleans out the diseased pulp and nerve in the root of your tooth. Afterward, the space is filled with biocompatible material. Next, they fit a crown to the top of your tooth, which protects it and allows you to use the tooth normally.  

Following your root canal procedure, you may have some swelling and sensitivity, but this is normal and usually abates within a week. 

It’s simply not possible to “power through” the pain caused by a tooth in need of a root canal, so don’t feel hesitant about seeking treatment. Once you do, your comfort will be restored, and you’ll no longer be at risk of losing a tooth. Call our office at 515-224-5999 to schedule an appointment or use our convenient online booking tool