If you need to have root canal treatment, it will be because the pulp inside your gum has become infected and needs to be removed. Often, this will be done to try and save a tooth that is otherwise healthy, and on the whole, this is a treatment that can be incredibly effective. If you do not have the treatment, then you are at risk of abscesses forming, which can be both painful and dangerous.
If your tooth pulp has been damaged, there is a high risk of bacteria within the pulp chamber. If this is not dealt with, there is a chance that you will either develop an infection or an abscess, both of which can be painful and could ultimately lead to tooth loss if not addressed as soon as possible.
An abscess can be uncomfortable in many ways and can cause swelling of your face, bone loss around the root of your teeth, and damage to the surrounding teeth. By performing root canal treatment, all of these things can be avoided, and you should find that you are able to keep the affected tooth.
There are a number of ways that the pulp of your tooth can be damaged, and this can include by having several procedures on the same tooth, by needing a large filling, or by some kind of trauma to the face, such as an injury. This cannot always be avoided, which is why many people find that they will need to have root canal treatment at some point in their lives.
You will need to visit us more than once for this kind of treatment, as there are a number of different stages to the process. Firstly, you will need to have an x-ray, as this can help us to see whether you have an infection. If you do, then we may need to treat this before going ahead with your treatment.
For the procedure itself, you will then be given a local anaesthetic to ensure that you don’t feel any kind of discomfort during the process. A rubber dam will be put around your tooth so that it doesn’t get wet with saliva during the treatment.
Your dentist will drill a hole into your tooth, and all decayed nerve tissue along with any debris will be removed. The tooth will be cleaned out, and water or another solution will be used to clean out the hole at various points during the process.
When the cleaning is complete, your dentist will seal the hole. If you have had an infection, we might decide to put some medication into your tooth instead, which means that you will need to wait for a week before having it sealed – though if this is the case, we will give you a temporary filling.
Sometimes, it is necessary to fit a crown at the end of the process.
We’ve all heard the scare stories about root canal treatment, but they date back to a time when dental treatment was nowhere near advanced as it is today. Now, you can expect a pain-free procedure, with only manageable pain once the anaesthetic has worn off. There is no need to worry – the horror stories you’ve heard are no longer true with modern dentistry!
Afterwards, you may find that your teeth are a little sensitive. If you feel pain, you can use over-the-counter painkillers to help with this. If your pain cannot be managed in this way, you must come back in to see us.
Most people find that they’re able to go straight back to their normal activities after a root canal treatment, though there’s nothing wrong with taking it easy for a while if you need to. You should also make sure that you avoid very hot or very chewy foods for a few days, as this will help if you have any sensitivity. In the long term, you should take care of your teeth as you normally would, and you should find that the procedure is quick to recover from.