Root Canal Treatments
When you hear the words ‘root canal’, it often instills a feeling of fear in most individuals. Root canal treatment can be seen as a particularly invasive and painful practice. While removing the root of a tooth is one of the most comprehensive procedures, with anaesthesia the treatment is relatively painless, and the pain associated is usually due to the initial tooth infection or can be a side effect following treatment.
Root canals are vital – but straight forward – procedures for damaged nerves, significant sensitivity or other issues. If you feel sensitivity or pain, you need to book in with your dentist quickly, so they can ascertain the cause and best treatment for you. Any damage or trauma to your tooth that exposes the nerves can influence the need for a root canal. There are a variety of causes for dead or dying nerves. Dying nerves can provoke serious pain and discomfort for you, so it is important to get the problem checked out. Other issues that can lead to a root canal include: over sensitivity, having an abscess or infected tooth or having extensive cosmetic restorations that affect or expose nerves. Having cavities, extensive dental decay or cracked teeth can all necessitate a root canal too.
Root canal treatments involve multiple stages and can be spaced out over a couple of weeks. In the initial stages of treatment, your dentist will start by taking an x-ray of your root to determine the health of your root structure and extent of the infection. They will also use a local anaesthetic to numb the area. Getting an x-ray is vital to diagnosing an infected root. Dentists will use drills and files to extract the decayed nerve, any bacteria and other pulp. They will also clean or scrape the sides and disinfect the root canal. Following cleaning, the root canal will then be sealed, and this can be a permanent or temporary seal. Re-infection is a possible complication of the treatment and so your dentist may elect to use a temporary seal. This allows them to keep an eye on any possible re-infection but also keep out any food, saliva or bacteria in the mean time. Your dentist will assess your needs and the state of your tooth before deciding whether to permanently or temporarily seal the tooth.
The final phase of a root canal treatment is complete restoration. This often includes cosmetic adjustments and may include the positioning of a crown to prevent further breakage.
There are a few common side effects, like pain after procedure, and some possible complications. Your dentist will be able to help with any questions or concerns and will provide information regarding post-treatment care. Root canals have a very high success rate despite being a particularly invasive procedure. The majority of affected individuals can expect to have full tooth functionality after the procedure and your tooth should last as long as all your other teeth. If you are concerned about your dental or oral health, speak to a dentist today.