Thad Strange DMD, MS - Flowood Endodontics

FAQ

Why is root canal therapy necessary?

Endodontics, or root canal treatment, is necessary when the tooth pulp becomes infected or inflamed.  The inflammation or infection can have several causes: deep decay, trauma, repeated dental procedures on a tooth, or a crack in the tooth.  Sometimes a blow to the tooth will cause these changes but cannot be seen on the surface of the tooth.  Some of the indications of damage to the pulp include pain, discoloration of the tooth, prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold, and swelling or tenderness in the gums near the tooth.  Occasionally root canal treatment is necessary even when there are no symptoms.

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Does a root canal hurt?
You are under local anesthesia, so you should not feel any pain.  However, there are instances when the infection from the tooth can be so overwhelming that the local anesthetic doesn’t work as well, which may necessitate additional injections.
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Will I have pain after the appointment?
For the first few days after the treatment, there may be some sensitivity to biting pressure, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure.  We typically recommend anti-inflammatory medications (for example – ibuprofen) for a few days after the treatment.  You may also be given a prescription for antibiotics.
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Will the tooth require any special care after the treatment?
You should not chew or bite on any hard or crunchy foods until the tooth is restored by your general dentist.  The unrestored tooth is susceptible to fracture.  Normal brushing and flossing is recommended.  Most endodontically treated teeth can be retained as long as other natural teeth.
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The tooth is still uncomfortable a week later. Is that normal?
Teeth are often uncomfortable after a root canal, and discomfort usually peaks about two days after treatment.  It is common for the tooth to still be a little uncomfortable for a week or so.  It is important that the tooth is getting better over time.
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Can I go back to work after my root canal?
Your jaw may be sore and your lip may be numb, but you should be in good shape to continue your regular schedule.  I don’t recommend leaving your appointment and going straight to an important lunch meeting.  In terms of your schedule, it should be no different than getting a filling or a crown.
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What pain medication is best?
Unless there are contraindications (ask your physician) I usually recommend 600-800 mg of ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, or generic) about every 4 to 6 hours.  If you cannot take ibuprofen, then take about 1000mg of Tylenol (acetaminophen).  If you have been given a prescription, then you may take that instead of ibuprofen or the Tylenol.
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Will it take more than one visit?
More than half of the root canals done in this office are done in one visit.  Many are done in two visits due to severe pain, swelling, persistent drainage or complex anatomy.  A second or third visit does not mean you will need to pay more.  It just means that we want to give you the best quality root canal regardless of the number of visits it will require.
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