A Root Canal is nowhere as painful, scary or complicated as you may have been led to believe. Root canals are used to repair or save a tooth that becomes infected or has damaged pulp. The purpose of the root canal procedure is to remove the pulp and/or the nerve of the tooth. After these are removed, the inside area of the tooth is then cleansed and the whole area is sealed, usually with a filling.
Many people believe root canals are extremely painful. But in reality the symptoms that cause you to have a root canal – such as the pain from a tooth that is damaged or infected – is often much worse. And thanks to modern anaesthetics and other pain relief tools, having a root canal is no longer something to dread. In fact, it usual is no more uncomfortable than having a tooth filled.
And after your root canal is over, you will no longer have to live with the pain of a damaged or infected tooth because the tooth has been completely repaired.
When Do You Need a Root Canal?
The danger with having a tooth that is damaged or weakened is that it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. This bacterium can quickly reproduce within the interior of the tooth, known as the pulp chamber.
When the pulp chamber becomes infected, it can quickly lead to an abscess, which is a pocket that forms at the end of the tooth’s root. An abscess usually is filled with bacteria infected pus, which can spread if not treated right away.
Other symptoms of a tooth infection, abscess or other common problems include:
- Teeth that are dark or discoloured
- Gums that are swollen, tender or bleeding
- It hurts when you bite down on your tooth or chew hard foods
- You experience pain when eating or drinking hot or cold liquids or food
Your dentists can usually spot any of these conditions during your regular dental exam. If any of these symptoms are diagnosed, a root canal is usually the treatment that is recommended.
What Happens During a Root Canal?
While all root canals are unique, here are the most common steps to performing a root canal:
- X-Rays – Your dentist will use an x-ray machine to take a series of pictures of your teeth and jaw bones, looking especially for infection and damage.
- Numbing the Area – Your dentist will then apply a local anaesthetic to the affected area so you won’t feel any pain during the root canal.
- Accessing the Tooth – Using a drill, your dentist will create a small hole in the tooth so that the pulp – along with the infected bacteria and decayed nerve tissue – can be taken out.
- Broadening the Hole – Your dentist will then use a series of increasingly larger drill bits and root canal files to make the hole bigger. This is so the sides of the root canal can be cleaned and scraped.
- Flushing the Area – Next your dentist will flush away any residual debris using water or a solution of sodium hypchlorite.
- Sealing the Area – Once the root canal has been thoroughly cleaned, it will be filled with a special material and then sealed with permanent tooth filling.
Typically, root canals are completed in a single visit to a dental clinic. But if your dentist is concerned about further infection, a temporary filling may be used to keep the root canal clear until additional treatments can be applied. This temporary filling keeps contaminants from getting into the area.
Frequently Asked Questions about Root Canal Therapy
Root Canal Therapy Vs. Tooth Extraction
A key benefit of getting a root canal is that you get to keep your tooth and use it like a normal one, even though it has been rendered “lifeless” at the root, so to speak.
On the other hand, an extraction may compound your dental problems such as drifting or misaligned teeth, TMJ (Temporomandibular disorder), uneasiness while keeping your jaw locked, bite problems and a nagging need to treat perfectly healthy teeth, which were fine until an adjacent tooth went missing.
We are aware of the fact that teeth replacement procedures have gotten better over time. However, nothing beats retaining your natural teeth.
Post Root Canal Care Instructions
Root canals have a high success rate overall. However, your oral hygiene and care also play an important part in maintaining teeth that have undergone the treatment. Here are a few tips for root canal care that can save you from many future treatments and pain:
- Brushing and flossing twice a day prevents tooth decay and cavities; these are a threat to teeth which have undergone a root canal.
- Scheduling regular dental check-ups will help your dentist diagnose any deteriorating teeth or infections.
- Abstain from chewing super-hard or sticky foods such as ice and lollies.
What Are My Chances of Having a Successful Root Canal?
Our hands-on experience with root canal treatments makes root canal procedures up to 95% successful. However, it is important to understand that no medical treatment has a 100% guaranteed success ratio. In situations where your root canal does not heal on its own or with the help of prescribed medicines, our dentists will take the necessary steps to eliminate the infection completely.
What if My Root Canal Does Not Work?
In some cases, an untreatable infection or tooth decay might require you to have a tooth or two extracted on your dentist’s recommendation. In this case, you should opt for a tooth implant or dental bridge to restore that flawless smile.
How Will I Feel after Having a Root Canal?
You might feel a bit uneasy and sensitive after getting your tooth freshly treated, which can be relieved by over-the-counter painkillers and adequate post-treatment rest. You might resume your daily activities the next morning while following all upkeep instructions given by your dentist, which ensure that you do not experience any pain or inadvertently damage your tooth.
What Are the Possible Consequences of Delaying a Root Canal?
The main reason for getting a root canal in the first place is to clean up the infected tooth. If it is not treated urgently, the infection can grow all the way to your tooth’s root and eventually, jawbone. In these cases, infections like gangrene can become very difficult to treat, not to mention the pain, which ensues right before losing your natural tooth.
Ways to Prevent a Future Root Canal
You can prevent all tooth and gum infections in future by maintaining good oral hygiene habits, avoiding acidic beverages, regularly scheduling dentist appointments, and cleaning your teeth according to how your dentist has recommended. In addition, it is always wise to protect your teeth with a mouth guard while taking part in contact or extreme sports.
Root Canal Video
If you are experiencing tooth pain or discomfort, contact Geelong Dentist Clinic on 1300 657 033 to schedule an examination and assessment for root canal treatment, or for your convenience you can book an appointment online.