4 Things To Know Before Your Root Canal Procedure

Have you been suffering from a dental abscess or a large cavity? Your dentist may have recommended a root canal procedure as the ideal treatment for your condition. This is a procedure by which the living tissue inside your tooth roots is removed, and the tooth is then covered with a crown for protection. Root canal procedures are pretty common, but many patients still don't know much about them. It's helpful to know the following information before you visit your dentist for this care.

It's named after the tooth part it treats.

When you hear someone say they have to get a root canal, they really mean they need to get a root canal procedure. The root canal is the narrow cavity inside your tooth root that contains nerves and blood vessels. A root canal procedure is the process by which the living tissue is removed from a root canal.

It is performed with local anesthesia.

People are often really worried that their root canal procedure will hurt. If it were not for modern medicine, the procedure certainly would hurt. However, dentists now use local anesthesia to numb the tooth and the tissues around it. You should not feel any pain during this treatment, although you may feel some pressure. The local anesthetic will wear off a few hours after your root canal procedure.

It does kill the tooth.

Your dentist is removing the tissues that keep the tooth alive, so after a root canal procedure, your tooth will technically be dead. However, that does not mean it can't remain in your mouth. Your dentist will put a crown over it to protect it, and it can stay in your mouth for many more years. Eventually, the tooth may need to be pulled, but there's generally no reason to do that until years down the road.

It won't always clear an infection on its own.

If you're having a root canal procedure because your tooth is abscessed, the procedure will go a long way toward healing the infection. However, most people also need antibiotics to heal an infected tooth. If your dentist prescribes antibiotics, take them according to instructions, even if your tooth feels better.

If you need to have a root canal procedure, don't worry. This is a common procedure, and most dentists have lots of experience performing it. If you have any lingering concerns, talk to your family dentist.