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What is a root canal?

The root canal procedure is the process of removing inflamed or infected pulp. The dentist then carefully cleans and shapes the canal system and then seals the prepared space. Most treatment is now performed in a single appointment ranging from 45-90 minutes. 

Why would I need Endodontic treatment?

Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The most common reasons for inflammation or infection are deep cavities (caries), repeated dental procedures, cracks or chips. Trauma can also cause inflammation and often shows up as discoloration of the tooth. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess. 

What are the signs and symptoms of needing a root canal?

Indications for treatment include prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, swelling or tenderness of the tooth or adjacent gums. Sometimes there are no symptoms. 

Will the treatment be painful?

We will take every measure to ensure that your procedure is in no way uncomfortable. Total anesthesia is standard and obtainable with local anesthetics. Some teeth are difficult, but most teeth are completely anesthetized easily. 

Will I feel pain after the procedure?

For the first few days after treatment, there may be some sensitivity to biting pressure, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. Sometimes over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (like Advil) are recommended for a day or two.  

Can I return to work after my root canal?

Your jaw may be sore, and your lip may be slightly numb, but you should have no trouble getting back to your daily routine. It should be no different than getting a filling or a crown. 

After my root canal, is there anything else that needs to be done?

Once treatment is completed, it is extremely important that you return to your general dentist for permanent restoration. The restoration of the tooth is an important part of treatment because it seals the cleaned canals from the oral environment, protects the tooth, and restores it to function. 

How many appointments will I need?

Most treatments can be completed in one or two visits. Infection cases may be followed with future recall visits. That will be determined by the doctor when the treatment is completed. 

Will I be able to drive after my root canal?

Yes, you should have no problem driving after treatment.


M Shannon Daugherty, D.M.D., P.C.
200 Grove Park Lane, Suite 600
Dothan, AL 36305
Phone: 334-699-3636
Fax: 334-699-3637

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