One of the most feared procedures at a dentist is the root canal, so before we start this explanation of the process and why you need it, please be assured that it is normally no more painful than having a filling. In fact, many people report no pain, because the infected nerve is dead and therefore not passing any signals to the brain.
Here at MarDenta, we take our patients’ fears very seriously and if you need root canal treatment, but are feeling scared about it, we can offer sedation to ease the process and make you feel calm, as well as the normal anaesthetic. But please don’t worry unduly, root canal is a very common procedure which we use to try and save a badly infected tooth and repair it to full health and has an excellent success rate.
You will normally know if you need a root canal, as the pain is pretty severe when you chew or apply any pressure to the infected tooth. Another clue is that you have very sensitive teeth and even feel the sensitivity when the hot or cold substance has been removed. Also the tooth can darken in colour, you may experience swelling and tenderness in your gums and see a pimple on the gums. If you’re experiencing any or all of these symptoms you very likely have an infection in the pulp inside the tooth and will need help from your dentist to cure it.
People most at risk from these kinds of infections are those with a deep cavity, crack or chip which can let bacteria in to the interior of the tooth. These can be caused by tooth decay or an injury to the tooth during sports for example.
Once a dentist has diagnosed an infection in the pulp (usually using a check-up and also an x-ray of the area to check for infection in the bone) they will recommend the root canal treatment, which is essentially a procedure to clear out the infected pulp, clean the area and then fill the tooth to prevent future infections.
Depending on the severity of the infection, you can expect to have two to three visits to the dentist to complete the procedure. You will be given some local anaesthesia to numb the area and then put a sheet of rubber around the tooth to keep it dry. A hole will then be drilled from the top of the tooth into the root to allow the infected pulp and bacteria to be removed.
The next step is sealing the tooth, but it may be necessary to wait and treat the infection first, before adding the permanent sealant. If this is the case, you will be given a temporary filling and a prescription for medication to cure the infection.
When the tooth is ready, we will fill the inside of the tooth with a substance called gutta-percha and then use a filling to seal the top of the tooth. If there is extensive damage to the tooth, a crown or a post may be necessary, but this is not always the case.
The procedure should stop the intense tooth ache that you were probably feeling before, and you shouldn’t experience too much pain following the root canal. A few days of sensitivity and some swelling is normal, but taking some ibuprofen should make it easy to manage.
Don’t let fear of a root canal stop you taking action, it’s the best way to save a natural tooth, remove pain and restore the health of your mouth. Please contact us for a consultation and we will let you know what you need, how long it will take and how much it will cost, with an easy to understand treatment plan.