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What is Root canal treatment?
In the past, teeth with damaged pulps were removed. Today, root canal treatment allows us a safe solution for saving the tooth and maintaining your natural smile.
Root canal treatment is used to save a tooth with an infected or dead pulp and prevent the infection from spreading.
Pulp exists inside each tooth, providing the tooth with nerves and nutrients. The pulp tissue can sometimes die if it is damaged or diseased. A root canal saves the affected tooth by cleaning out the diseased pulp and reshaping the canal.
Once the pulp is removed, the root canal is cleaned and sealed for protection. A crown is then placed over the tooth to increase its strength.
What are the symptoms of pulp tissue damage?
Individuals may experience symptoms differently, but these are the most common symptoms of an injured or damaged pulp:
- Pain when biting down and chewing
- Sensitivity of teeth with hot or cold foods or beverages
- Facial swelling
These symptoms can also be a sign of other oral health issues, so they may not always indicate that you require root canal treatment. It is reccomended that you consult a dentist if you are experiencing pain or discomfort.
Why do I need Treatment?
Your tooth cannot heal by itself. If left untreated, the infection could lead to:
- An abscess forming at the root of the tooth
- Deterioration of the underlying bone tissue
- Severe pain
Delaying treatment for too long can make it impossible for Dr Linda to save your tooth.
The infection can also spread to neighbouring teeth, potentially leading to:
- blood poisoning
- swelling in the face and neck.
What is a Root canal procedure?
A root canal is usually a simple procedure with little or no discomfort. It involves one to three visits.
Here is a step-by-step guide to how the procedure saves your tooth:
- We make an opening through the top of the tooth down to the pulp chamber.
- The injured or dead pulp is taken out and the root canals are irrigated and medicated.
- A temporary filling is placed in the opening at the top of the tooth in order to protect it between procedures. Alternatively, the tooth may be left open to drain for a couple of days.
- The temporary filling gets removed and the pulp chamber and root canal(s) are cleaned then filled.
- A crown is placed over the tooth.
A common misconception about root canals is that they are painful. With today’s advanced technologies and local anaesthetics a root canal should not be any more uncomfortable then getting a filling done.
Is treatment painful?
The root canal treatment eliminates the pain caused by the tooth infection. A local anaesthetic numbs the tooth and surrounding area, making the procedure painless.
How long does root canal treatment take?
A single root canal treatment can usually take anywhere between 30-90 minutes.
What are the benefits of Root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment is a simple and painless procedure that offers many benefits, including:
- Relief of pain and discomfort
- Prevention of spread of infection
- A healthy restored tooth that lasts a lifetime if properly cared for
- No interruption or changes to other teeth
- Normal biting and chewing sensation
- You get to keep your natural smile!
Are there any Risks?
Over 95% of root canal treatments are completely successfully. Occasionally, a case may require a repeated treatment if there are diseased canals that have initially gone undetected or if the canal filling instrument fractures, but this is very rare.
How long does recovery take after treatment?
The recovery period after root canal treatment is minimal, and you should be feeling completely back to normal after just a few days. Slight inflammation is normal and may cause discomfort for a couple of days or so. This can be treated with an over-the-counter painkiller, as well as a warm saltwater rinse.
Are there any alternative options to root canal treatment?
The only alternative is to have the tooth extracted. Unfortunately, this can affect the surrounding teeth, often causing them to move and leaving your with a bad bite. Although having your tooth pulled out may cost less initially, the space left will require an implant or bridge to be fitted, which can ultimately be more expensive than root canal treatment.
If you have the choice, keeping your original teeth is always the best option.
For more information, talk to us for a consultation.