Are you tired of that persistent toothache and contemplating a visit to the dentist to end your misery? You can save your aching tooth with a relatively simple dental procedure known as a root canal treatment! Often dreaded and misunderstood, a root canal treatment can help save your tooth from potential extraction, helping rebuild and preserve tooth structure.
In this discussion, we’ll help you understand the root canal treatment process, discovering how this three-stage procedure can relieve your pain and salvage your natural tooth, allowing you to enjoy a pain free and healthy smile once again.
What is Root Canal Treatment?
A root canal treatment, technically known as endodontic therapy, is a dental procedure to treat a damaged or infected tooth’s interior. Teeth have a central part known as “pulp”, containing nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues. When this pulp becomes infected or damaged due to deep decay, cracks, trauma, or other factors, it can cause severe pain and potentially lead to tooth loss.
The root canal treatment aims to:
- Remove the infected or damaged pulp.
- Clean and disinfect the inside of the tooth.
- Seal the tooth to prevent further infection.
Why Do You Need a Root Canal Treatment?
Root canal treatments are necessary when a tooth’s pulp is compromised. Common reasons for needing a root canal include:
Deep Decay: When tooth decay (cavities) is left untreated and progresses deep into the tooth, it can reach the pulp. The pulp becomes infected at this point, leading to severe pain and sensitivity.
Trauma: A tooth that is cracked or fractured, especially if the crack extends into the pulp, can allow bacteria to enter and cause infection. This often results from trauma, biting down on something hard or history of teeth clenching and grinding.
Repeated Dental Procedures: Teeth undergoing multiple dental procedures, such as fillings or crowns, may eventually develop inflammation or infection within the pulp. This can happen when dental work repeatedly irritates the pulp.
Infections: Infections can develop within a tooth’s pulp, causing an abscess, a painful swelling filled with pus. In such cases, a root canal is often necessary to remove the infected tissue and prevent the infection from spreading.
Signs that you may need a root canal include:
- Persistent toothache.
- Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures.
- Swelling of the gums or face.
- A pimple-like bump on the gum near the affected tooth.
If you’ve been dealing with any of these signs, consult with our dentists at Dana Street Dental for an accurate diagnosis and swift treatment. We will examine your tooth to determine the extent of decay and recommend the right treatment suited to dental needs. We offer a range of restorative treatments such as root canal and dental fillings to help treat decay and restore your teeth functionality and appearance. If you’re looking to enhance aesthetics for an improved smile, whether it’s to cover a weakened tooth, replace missing teeth or fix teeth flaws, we provide bespoke treatment plans with procedures such as dental implants, veneers, crowns and bridges to help you get a flawless and healthy smile.
3 Stages Of Root Canal Treatment
Contrary to popular belief, modern root canal procedures are relatively painless and typically performed under local anaesthesia, ensuring you’re comfortable throughout the process. Here’s an overview of what to expect during the three stages of a root canal:
Stage 1: Diagnosis and Preparation
The first stage of root canal treatment is diagnosis and preparation. Patients typically seek this treatment when they experience severe toothache, increased sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, or notice swelling and tenderness in the gum surrounding the affected tooth. These symptoms often indicate that the innermost part of the tooth, known as the pulp, is inflamed or infected.The first stage may include the following:
- Initial Examination: The dentist will begin by examining the affected tooth and taking X-rays to assess the extent of the infection. X-rays provide important information about the shape of the root canals and the presence of any abscesses.
- Local Anaesthesia: To ensure your comfort, the dentist will administer local anaesthetic to numb the tooth and surrounding area. This makes the procedure virtually painless.. At Dana Street Dental, we offer a range of sedation options to help keep you relaxed and comfortable throughout the procedure. Talk to our dentists to help choose the option best suited to your needs.
- Isolation: A rubber dam is placed around the tooth to keep it dry and free from saliva during the procedure. This isolation prevents contamination of the root canals.
- Access Opening: Once the tooth is isolated correctly, the dentist drills a small access hole through the crown (top) to reach the pulp chamber and root canals.
Stage 2: Cleaning and Shaping
After gaining access to the pulp chamber and root canals, the second stage of root canal treatment involves cleaning and shaping the tooth’s interior. This step is essential for removing infected or damaged tissue and preventing further infection. Here’s what you can expect during the procedure:
- Cleaning: Special instruments called files are used to carefully remove the infected pulp tissue and any debris or bacteria within the root canals. The dentist will periodically flush the canals with an antibacterial solution to disinfect them thoroughly.
- Shaping: The root canals are then shaped to ensure they are free from irregularities and can be easily filled later. This step is essential to eliminate spaces where bacteria could hide.
- Medication: A temporary filling or medication is sometimes placed inside the tooth to eliminate any remaining infection. This may require multiple visits to ensure the infection is completely eradicated.
Stage 3: Filling and Restoration
The final stage of root canal treatment involves filling and restoring the tooth to its natural function and appearance. This step is essential for preserving the tooth’s integrity and preventing future infections.
- Filling: After cleaning and shaping the root canals, they are filled with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha. This material seals the canals, preventing the re-entry of bacteria.
- Sealing the Access Hole: The access hole created at the beginning of the procedure is sealed with a permanent filling material. In some cases, a ceramic or gold crown may be recommended to provide additional protection and strength to the tooth.
- Restoration: Depending on the extent of damage, the dentist may recommend a dental crown to restore the tooth’s natural appearance and function. This step is vital for ensuring the treated tooth can withstand the forces of biting and chewing.
To ensure the long-term success of root canal treatment, it is necessary to follow your dentist’s instructions, attend any recommended follow-up visits, and maintain your oral health with regular dental checkups.
Benefits of Root Canal Treatment
The results of a successful root canal treatment are typically very positive and can help improve your oral health and overall well-being. Here are the key outcomes you can expect after a successful root canal treatment:
- Alleviate the severe pain and discomfort associated with an infected or damaged tooth.
- The most important result of a successful root canal is preserving your natural tooth.
- It prevents the spread of infection to surrounding teeth and tissues, reducing the risk of more serious dental and health issues.
- After a root canal, the tooth becomes functional again, allowing you to speak, eat and smile comfortably.
- A root canal can be a long-lasting solution. In many cases, a tooth with a successful root canal can last a lifetime.
Take Control of Your Oral Health with Root Canal Treatment
Modern dentistry has made root canal treatment much more comfortable and predictable. It is a highly successful dental procedure to save teeth that would otherwise need to be extracted due to infection or damage. Understanding the three stages of root canal treatment can help alleviate concerns and anxiety associated with this standard dental procedure. However, early diagnosis and prompt treatment are essential to successful outcomes. You would need to follow your dentist’s post-treatment care instructions to ensure a full and speedy recovery. Book a consultation today.