Are you dealing with a persistent toothache? Has one of your teeth changed colour? Do your gums appear swollen and red? You could be dealing with a root canal infection.
Don’t worry: By taking action now, you can potentially save the tooth with root canal treatment.
Root canal procedures (also known as endodontic treatment) are a way to restore deeply decayed or infected teeth. Once your treatment is complete, the tooth will look and function just like your natural teeth.
If you have an upcoming root canal, you might not know what to expect. Interested in learning more about this treatment? Here’s everything you need to know about root canals:
What Is Root Canal Treatment?
Before we explain what your root canal treatment will look like, let’s start by reviewing the anatomy of your tooth.
The outside of your tooth is made of enamel; it’s your tooth’s primary defence against plaque and bacteria. Beneath that is a layer of dentin, which supports the enamel. Inside the tooth is where the soft tissue called the pulp chamber lies. It houses nerve tissue, blood vessels, and connective tissue. The pulp supplies the tooth with nutrients while it’s developing, but once the tooth is fully grown, it can survive without it.
The pulp can become infected or inflamed if bacteria enter the tooth. During a root canal, the infected pulp is removed to prevent a tooth abscess. Left untreated, root canal issues may require a tooth extraction.
Signs That You Need a Root Canal
Is it time to call your dentist? Common root canal symptoms include:
- Severe pain
- Cracked tooth
- Discomfort and sensitivity when eating cold food or sipping hot drinks
- Change in the colour of the gums or tooth
Other risk factors include deep decay, repeated dental procedures, and pimples on the gums.
If you aren’t experiencing any tooth pain, you might still need root canal therapy. This is a sign that the nerve of the tooth may have died or has been severely damaged.
The Root Canal Procedure
The procedure is usually performed over one or two appointments. If you have severe pulp damage, an infection, or curved canals, the root canal may take two appointments.
First, the dentist will use a local anaesthetic to numb the mouth completely. They’ll apply a dental dam to isolate the area and keep it dry. After the area is prepared, the dentist will drill a small access hole in the tooth.
Once the dead pulp tissue is entirely removed, the dentist will clean and disinfect the space. They’ll fill the roof of the tooth with gutta-percha, a rubber-like material that prevents any bacteria from entering the pulp chamber. It’s applied with an adhesive cement to create a long-lasting seal.
Then, the dentist will place a temporary filling to support the structure of the tooth. After the root canal site heals, they can replace the temporary filling with a permanent one.
In some cases, a crown may also be required. Whether you need a crown or filling depends on how much of the natural tooth remains.
After Your Root Canal
While your root canal heals, take note of these care tips:
- Avoid chewing on that side of your mouth.
- Try to steer clear of overly hard, sticky, or chewy foods.
- If you have an infection, take prescription drugs as directed by your dentist.
Myths About Root Canals
We’re going to clear up a few misconceptions about this common dental procedure:
Myth #1: Root canals are extremely painful
Your dentist will administer local anaesthesia to make your mouth completely numb during your dental procedure. Most patients find that endodontic therapy feels similar to getting a regular filling.
The truth is that root canal treatments aren’t that painful—it’s having an infected tooth that causes most of the pain. The best way to alleviate your discomfort is through dental treatment.
Myth #2: It’s easier to get the tooth extracted
Is it worth it to get a root canal, or should you just pull the damaged tooth?
In most cases, we recommend endodontic therapy over extractions. Saving your natural teeth is typically the best course of action. Even though root canal treatments can be expensive, it’s more expensive to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant or bridge.
Root canals are a more cost-effective solution. At Dental House, we do our best to save teeth whenever possible.
What Affects the Cost of Your Root Canal?
The root canal cost varies depending on factors like:
- Whether you need a filling or a crown
- If you’ve previously had dental work on the affected tooth
- The complexity of the root canal
- The location of the tooth (a front tooth or a molar)
- Whether the tooth is infected
Dental treatment can be costly. What can you do to prevent the need for root canal therapy? Here are a few tips:
First, try to maintain a healthy diet; avoid foods and drinks like acidic soda, sugary candy, and starchy chips/bread.
Next, practice good oral hygiene. Brush and floss your teeth every day! Use toothpaste or mouthwash that contains fluoride to prevent cavities.
Finally, be sure to see your dentist regularly. They can repair tooth decay early on and prevent the development of a deep cavity, which may require root canal treatment.
Schedule Your Root Canal at Dental House Today
Do you need endodontic treatment? At our dental clinic, we provide restorative dentistry services to save your teeth. We’re here to answer any questions you might have about this treatment. To book your appointment, contact us today.