Root Canal (cont.)
Steven B. Horne, DDS
Dr. Steve Horne began his career at Brigham Young University obtaining his BA in English. He earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery in 2007 from the University of Southern California where his pursuit for academic excellence landed him on the Dean's List. He was recognized for his superior clinical skills and invited to help teach other dental students in courses on restorative dentistry, prosthodontics, and tooth anatomy. During dental school, he provided dental care for underserved populations of Los Angeles and Orange County, Mexico, and Costa Rica with AYUDA. Following dental school, Dr. Horne entered active duty with the U.S. Army and practiced dentistry at Fort Knox, Kentucky, for four years. During this time, he was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, and received multiple Army Achievement Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, and served as Company Commander. Dr. Horne currently practices full time at Torrey Pines Dental Arts in La Jolla, California, as a general dentist. Dr. Horne is a member of the American Dental Association, the California Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Horne is married to his wife, Christy, and they have a chocolate Labrador named Roscoe.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What is a root canal?
- Why is a root canal necessary?
- What happens during a root canal procedure?
- Is there pain associated with getting a root canal?
- Are there special considerations for getting a root canal during pregnancy?
- What kind of problems or complications may occur after getting a root canal?
- How long do root canals last?
- How much does a root canal cost?
- Are there any alternatives to a root canal?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
Is there pain associated with getting a root canal?
Usually, people will say that a root canal doesn't hurt any more than getting a simple filling, and they should be able to return to their normal activities immediately. Since a person needing a root canal is often already in extreme pain, the root canal treatment actually provides relief from pain and recovery is very minimal. When the anesthesia wears off, the gums around the tooth will be sore from the rubber dam clamp, and it may feel a little sore when chewing with that tooth -- especially if the tooth was abscessed prior to treatment. Even though the nerve is no longer inside the tooth, there are still nerve endings around the outside of the tooth that may be inflamed as a result of an abscess or the root canal treatment itself. It is best to try chewing on the opposite side of the mouth for a few days following the root canal to give the bone and tissues around the tooth time to calm down.
Any pain or discomfort can be controlled by taking ibuprofen (Advil) or another over-the-counter pain medication when appropriate. Ibuprofen should not be used by people taking certain blood thinners or those with kidney disease or stomach ulcers. A person who is experiencing extreme pain following a root canal that isn't getting better after a few days should return to the treating dentist immediately for further evaluation.
Are there special considerations for getting a root canal during pregnancy?
Since a root canal is often necessary because a person has a tooth that is either causing extreme pain or is infected, it is best to get root canal treatment immediately, even if the person is pregnant. Untreated pain will produce too much stress and an abscess could critically endanger the health of the mother and developing baby. If it is possible to plan the timing of the root canal treatment, the second trimester is generally the safest time for dental procedures.
X-rays must be taken during the procedure, so it is imperative that a lead apron is used to protect the mother and baby. Tetracycline must be avoided as an antibiotic, as it can affect the baby's development.
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