For most of my patients, the first indicator that a tooth is infected is, unfortunately, pain. Infection can begin deep inside a tooth when bacteria have access to the pulp chamber that houses blood, lymph, and nerve tissue. As the infection grows, the inflammation inside your tooth can lead to unbearable pain. The solution is usually a root canal. As a dentist, I want you to feel comfortable and confident before your procedure. So, let me answer a few frequently asked questions here.
Is a Root Canal Painful?
The short answer to that question is no. Before root canal therapy begins, a local anesthetic is administered in order to numb the tooth and surrounding tissue. You may feel some slight pressure during a root canal, but never pain. My intention in performing a root canal, after all, is to eliminate the pain of an infected tooth.
How Long Does a Root Canal Take?
That depends on the seriousness of the infection. On average the procedure takes about two hours from start to finish.
What Happens During a Root Canal?
Once the local anesthetic has taken effect, I’ll drill a small access hole in your tooth. Then, using special hand instruments, I remove the infected tissue as well as the contents of the tooth’s pulp chamber. The area is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
To fill the tooth, I use a material called gutta-percha, which is biocompatible and expands to support the remaining tooth structure. Finally, the tooth is sealed and protected with a temporary dental crown. The permanent crown will be placed in a couple of weeks.
What Should I Do During Recovery from Root Canal?
For the first few hours after your procedure, your lips and tongue will still likely be numb; be careful when chewing or biting. Once the anesthetic wears off, you may feel some soreness or sensitivity. This should only last for a couple of days. If the discomfort is too bothersome, I can prescribe pain medication.
If you experience any of the following symptoms after a root canal, then please call the office right away to schedule a visit:
- Severe pain
- A rash on your face
Will Dental Insurance Cover a Root Canal?
That depends on your dental insurance benefits. In all likelihood, a portion of the treatment will be covered. We are in-network with Delta Dental and Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Even if you have another plan, we will be happy to file all insurance claims to ensure that you receive the maximum allowable benefits.
If you’re experiencing a toothache, I’ll be glad to conduct a thorough examination and make the appropriate recommendation or offer a second opinion.
Meet the Doctor
Dr. David Groy is a Leesburg dentist. He and his team of dental hygienists take care of smiles of all ages with preventive dentistry, cosmetic treatments and restorative care. Call today for an appointment.