“You need a root canal treatment.” These are words that no dental patient wants to hear. This is because root canal treatment has a bad reputation that goes far beyond the reality of the treatment.
Contrary to its reputation, modern root canal treatment procedures are comfortable once you are well-numbed, and they actually REMOVE the cause of the dental pain that you have been suffering.
Because root canal treatment can be such a useful tool in saving teeth, DentArana would like to give you a better idea of what they are, when they are needed, and what you can expect if you get one.
What Is A Root Canal?
The root canal is in the interior section of a tooth root, which normally stays below the gum line. Inside each tooth, and extending down into the roots, are nerves, soft tissues, and blood vessels. Together they comprise the pulp. A root canal treatment is removal and replacement of this pulp.
Why Might I Need A Root Canal?
A root canal system may become inflamed or infected for several reasons:
- Deep Decay. If you have a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp, resulting in an infection or abscess.
- Dental Procedures. Repeated dental work can cause the pulp to become infected or inflamed.
- Trauma. If a tooth experiences damage, a root canal infection may result.
- Cracked or Chipped Teeth. A chipped or cracked tooth may allow entry of root canal infection.
Signs You Might Need A Root Canal
- You suffer moderate to extreme tooth pain when drinking hot/cold liquids or eating hot/cold foods.
- Pain or sensitivity when chewing or biting on a tooth. There may also be slight swelling.
- Your toothache pain either keeps you up or wakes you up at night.
- You have a lump on your gum that resembles a pimple and when pressed may bleed or ooze pus.
- Pain that begins in a tooth then radiates to other regions of your jaw or head.
How Are Root Canals Performed?
Root canal treatment may require one or more dental visits. The treatment is as follows:
- Your tooth is numbed for your comfort, a thin sheet of latex rubber is placed over the tooth, and an opening is made through the crown of the tooth.
- The tooth’s nerve, or pulp, is removed from the pulp chamber and root canal. Each canal is cleaned and shaped so it can be filled.
- Your dentist may put medicine in the pulp chamber and root canal to kill bacteria.
- The root canals are normally filled with rubber-like (sometimes “gutta-percha) material to seal them.
- A temporary filling is placed in the tooth to prevent contamination of the root canals. You may be prescribed antibiotics if infection has spread. Obviously, only use your medicine as your dentist and the label prescribe! If the medicine has any side effects, call your dentist immediately.
- In the final stage of treatment, your dentist restores the tooth with a crown or a filling to strengthen it and improve its appearance.
Post-op instructions after root canal treatment:
- Do not chew hard food with the root canal treated tooth until a permanent crown is placed.
- Do not chew anything until the anesthesia wears off.
- Discomfort/minor pain can be dealt with using OTC pain medicines.
- If antibiotics, or any other kind of medicine, are prescribed, take them as prescribed.
- Please consult DentArana if pain continues or swelling is evident.
How Long Do Root Canals Last?
One factor that can influence how long a root canal will last is how quickly the tooth is restored after the procedure: The sooner it receives a permanent filling or crown, the longer it is likely to last.
Other factors include:
- The tooth location (front teeth are easier to treat and receive less biting force than back teeth)
- Age of the patient (teeth become more brittle with age)
- What other work needs to be done (or has been done) on the tooth
In general, however, there’s no dispute that a tooth which has received a quality root canal treatment should last for a very long time, possibly a lifetime. And to many people, there’s simply no substitute for having your own natural teeth.
What you can do to maximise the longevity of your root canal, is practice good oral hygiene, and visit your DentArana dentist on your regular schedule. Remember, even though you have fixed the tooth, it is still susceptible to normal dental issues including decay and cavities!
DentArana Is Your Partner In Health
DentArana provides Family Dentistry in Arana Hills. Our goal is to make quality dental care affordable, and help you achieve maximum oral and overall health! DentArana can help you with all your dental needs, from clean and scales to bridges and dentures. We offer late and Saturday hours!
Same day emergency appointment available!
Call (07) 3351 3366 or visit us at Shop 5 Patricks Place, Corner Dawson Parade and Patricks Road in Arana Hills.