Root canal therapy
WHAT IS A ROOT CANAL?
Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, is a procedure performed on an infected tooth where nerves under your tooth are ceasing to function due to dental trauma from a variety of possible scenarios ranging from a deep cavity, a crack or chip over the enamel down to the dentin, or a sudden movement of the tooth. The nerves within the canals can become a feeding ground for bacterial growth eventually reaching the jaw bone if not taken care of sooner resulting in the tooth needing to be extracted. The goal of root canal therapy is to eliminate the infection that has reached the nerves of the affected tooth so that you can save your natural tooth. When the infection runs too deep, you will feel extreme discomfort. So the question is how do you know when you need a root canal?
SIGNS YOU NEED ROOT CANAL THERAPY
The easiest way to find out for certain that you need a root canal is to book a cleaning and exam with our highly educated dentists. Our hygienist will provide you a thorough cleaning and our dentist will be able to assess your situation. If you are in pain, book in with our emergency dental services. Depending on the circumstances, they are able to determine whether or not a tooth is dead by taking an X-ray of the tooth. In some rare cases, an X-ray image is unable to show a dead tooth, but if there are symptoms of a dead tooth such as prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold, tenderness to chewing, swelling and discolouration of the tooth, the dentist will perform, a cold test to see whether you can feel the temperature change on that tooth. If you are unable to feel the sudden cold on the tooth, the nerves within your tooth's canals are presumed dead requiring the dentist to perform root canal treatment.
BENEFITS OF ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
After your root canal therapy treatment, you may feel soreness for the next few days but eventually you will feel relieved. Depending on the situation and which tooth you had root canal treatment on, the dentists may recommend a crown to strengthen your teeth when chewing which would be the next step. At this point, you might be wondering if there are any other alternatives to root canal therapy. The only other alternatives is to extract the tooth - the removal of the tooth from your mouth. By removing the tooth, the gap between your teeth would not appear aesthetically pleasing, chewing would be more difficult, resulting in the need for a tooth replacement. But saving your natural teeth is always the best recommendation.
In summary, root canal treatment will provide you the following benefits:
Eliminates pain from a badly infected tooth which otherwise has to be extracted.
Help maintain chewing efficiency
Protect the other teeth from excessive wear or stress
Helps maintain your natural smile
HOW IS A ROOT CANAL TREATMENT DONE?
Before the root canal procedure, the dentist will prepare you a local anesthetic to numb the area surrounding the infected tooth. During the root canal procedure, the dentist will make an opening in the tooth to reach the root canal system and damaged pulp. The infected nerves are removed with very fine dental instruments, and the inside of the tooth is disinfected and cleaned. It is then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. The tooth is then restored with a permanent filling and may place a post. After the final restorations, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.
Please note that you can still get a cavity or gum disease after a root canal procedure, as the treatment does not protect your tooth from other types of damage. But with proper care and regular visits to the dentist, your tooth could last just as long as your other teeth.
Root canal treatment may be done in 1 to 3 appointments depending on the level of infection control. After root canal treatment, your tooth may be tender for the first week or two. It is NOT common to experience bad pain and swelling.