A root canal might sound intimidating, but if your dentist recommends one, it is important to know that the procedure isn’t scary or painful. Our general dentist in Poulsbo provides restorative dental services to all of Kitsap County, including Poulsbo, Bremerton, Suquamish, Kingston, and Hansville.
A root canal is a restorative dentistry procedure that removes the inner pulp from a damaged tooth to eliminate harmful bacteria and save the tooth. The pulp contains blood vessels, connective tissues, and nerves, all of which help your body to grow teeth.
When a tooth is severely damaged, bacteria can get into the pulp. During a root canal, our dentist will remove the pulp, clean the hole, and fill it. The tooth can survive because it will be nourished by the tissue around it, even without the pulp.
The most important benefit of a root canal is that it allows your dentist to save your natural tooth. We see extraction as a last resort. Retaining your original tooth preserves a natural appearance and the ability to chew naturally, without discomfort.
In addition, a root canal prevents the spread of bacteria to other teeth, prevents your jaw from degenerating or becoming infected, and promotes overall oral health.
When we do root canals, patients can often expect the procedure to be completed in a single visit, but some may require a second visit. The length of the procedure itself may vary depending on the severity of the damage. In general, you can expect your root canal to take somewhere between 30 and 90 minutes to complete.
Before your root canal, there are a few things you should know. You should make sure to tell us about any medication you are taking if you will be under sedation during the procedure. You may also need to avoid eating.
If you will be under sedation, then you should not drive yourself to your root canal in Poulsbo. You will be groggy after the procedure, and it will not be safe to drive.
In our dental office, root canals are performed every day. During the procedure, your dentist will apply a local anesthetic and will provide sedation if you desire. The dentist will use tools to remove the pulp from the tooth, flushing it regularly to remove debris and bacteria.
After the pulp has been removed, the dentist will refill the tooth with a biocompatible compound and seal it to protect it from becoming reinfected.
After your root canal, you should expect some swelling and you may feel some pain as the local anesthetic wears off. If you were under sedation, you will feel groggy and will need somebody to get you home safely.
In most cases, the pain can be alleviated with an over-the-counter medication such as Tylenol. Your tooth and mouth should feel normal within a few days.
The best way to prevent needing a root canal is to take care of your teeth and gums. That means brushing and flossing daily and visiting your Poulsbo dental team regularly for cleanings and check-ups. You can further decrease your risk by avoiding sugar or highly acidic foods that can damage your teeth and cause inflammation.
Do root canals hurt?
No, the procedure itself is painless. Your dentist will apply a local anesthetic before your Poulsbo root canal to ensure your comfort during the procedure. After the anesthetic wears off, you may experience some tenderness or pain, which you can alleviate with Tylenol.
What can I eat after a root canal?
If you are hungry immediately following your root canal, you should be careful to chew only on the opposite side from where you had the procedure. We suggest sticking with soft foods such as smoothies, yogurt, or oatmeal. Your mouth may stay tender for several days, so you should avoid crunchy, hard, or chewy foods in favor of softer foods. You should also avoid eating anything too hot, as it may increase sensitivity. The same is true of spicy food.
Can I drink alcohol after a root canal?
No, we recommend avoiding alcoholic beverages until the root canal is healed. The reason is that alcohol can increase bleeding and slow the healing process.
How long does a root canal take to heal?
In most cases after root canals, patients heal in just a few days, and they don’t hesitate to contact our office if they have additional questions. Where there was considerable damage to the tooth or where complications arise after the procedure, it may take as long as a week or two to fully heal.
Can I smoke after a root canal?
We recommend that patients refrain from smoking for 24 hours after a root canal. If you are a smoker, you should be aware that smokers are twice as likely to need a root canal as non-smokers. Continuing to smoke can inflame your mouth and gums and increase the likelihood that you will need additional dental procedures in the future.