Are you suffering from spontaneous pain in one of your teeth? Or does your tooth begin to ache when you chew or feel sensitive to unusually hot or cold temperatures? These could be possible signs that there is something wrong with the nerve of a tooth and that you need root canal treatment.
The root canal procedure has received a bad rap over the years and the mere mention of it is often enough to make the palms sweat and the pulse start racing.
We’re here to set the record straight and to tell you that endodontic treatment (the branch of dentistry that deals with the inside of the tooth) is nowhere near as bad or as painful as it’s cracked up to be and is performed to save your tooth.
Hopefully, by having a better understanding of the root canal procedure and knowing what to expect, you will feel less trepidation if you ever find yourself in need of root canal therapy.
Endodontic treatment explained
One of the common myths of root canal treatment is that it is painful. In reality, it’s the decay and infection that is painful and root canal therapy serves to remove the source of pain and relieve it.
So, what exactly is endodontic treatment?
Dental pulp is the soft tissue that sits beneath the enamel in the centre of the tooth. It contains one or more root canals which, in turn, carry a series of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues that help nourish the tooth as it develops.
Tooth decay, cracks, trauma to the mouth and repeated dental procedures can cause the root canal within the pulp to become inflamed, irritated or infected. When this happens root canal therapy is usually needed.
Without treatment, the result may be extreme pain, tooth discolouration, prolonged sensitivity to cold or heat, swelling, or a draining pimple on the gums.
The root canal procedure – What to expect
Root canal treatment typically involves two (sometimes three) dental visits. Here is how the process works…
Following an examination which includes x-rays, our dentist will make a diagnosis and discuss your best treatment options. If it’s decided that a root canal is necessary, our dentist will numb your mouth with a local anaesthetic. This will relieve any pain you may have been experiencing and help you feel more at ease during the procedure.
The affected tooth is then isolated with a thin rubber sheet (or dam) to keep it clean and free from saliva and debris during the procedure.
How does root canal treatment save my tooth?
A small access hole is drilled in the tooth’s crown and special instruments are used to remove the decay and infected pulp from the root canal chamber and to shape the space for a filling.
Once the space has been thoroughly cleaned and shaped, our dentist will back-fill the root canal with a rubbery type of material known as gutta-percha. This is placed together with an adhesive cement to ensure the root canals are completely sealed. Usually, a temporary filling is used to close the access hole.
What about aftercare?
At this stage of root canal treatment, patients need to refrain from biting or chewing on the treated tooth until it has been restored. It’s relatively fragile at this stage, so it’s important to schedule a full restoration with the dentist as soon as possible.
Aside from that, you need to maintain good oral hygiene including brushing and flossing together with regular check-ups and cleans. Most teeth that have undergone endodontic treatment last as long as other natural teeth.
About the restoration
Following the root canal procedure, your dentist will decide whether to restore your tooth with a permanent filling or a dental crown. Depending on the severity of your condition, extensive tooth structure may have been removed, in which case the dentist may recommend a post and core build-up before the permanent restoration goes ahead.
Whether a crown is needed depends on where the tooth is located in the mouth. Typically, molars and premolars located towards the back of the mouth are more likely to need a crown. On the other hand, incisors and canines don’t always need a crown since they are not required for chewing.
If you’re experiencing pain or sensitivity from a tooth, why not come and speak to the friendly caring dentists at Beyond 32 Dental. Don’t put off visiting a dentist because of fear of the root canal procedure. Schedule an appointment right now with your trusted dentist in Cherrybrook.
Call us on (02) 9158 6334 today.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner