Root Canal Treatment (Endodontic)
Under your teeth lies canals filled with dental pulp containing nerves that allow your teeth to feel. In an event where these nerves were ever injured from variety of possible scenarios referred to as dental trauma such as the tooth moving too quickly, damage from physical force, or an infection from bacteria due to a cavity, the nerves would die resulting in dead nerves residing within the canal of the tooth where bacteria would feed and eventually causing you extremely discomfort. If left untreated, the tooth would fall out or need to be extracted.
What is Root Canal Treatment?
Fortunately our dentists can perform a treatment called root canal therapy which would result in restoring your natural tooth so that your tooth will no longer fall out or need to be extracted. This procedure would remove the infected pulp within the canals cleaning out any pus or bacteria from the canals. Dental pulp, while important during a tooth’s development and growth, once the tooth fully matures, serves no other purpose besides for sensing temperature changes and pain as the tooth can continue to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it.
Symptoms of when root canal is needed
If you suspect you may need root canal therapy, then look for these signs :
- Discoloration in the affected tooth – A tooth with dead dental pulp residing within its canals would start to decay and would stand out from the rest of your teeth, appearing yellow, a bit grey to black like how you receive a bruise. As this occurs, the tooth will become more brittle and be more prone to cavities giving you ample reasons why you should get treatment fast.
- Pain and extreme discomfort – A tooth that requires root canal therapy varies from case to case, from almost non-existent to extremely painful; however, the pain increases with the nerve dying or as the infection continues. The pain is not coming from within the tooth, but from the outside of the tooth called the periodontal membrane.
- Infection symptoms – If the bacteria and dead nerves or pus builds up, the pulp cavity inside the tooth puts pressure on the periodontal membrane which you may exhibit more infection symptoms such as swelling, a pimple on the gums, bad taste in mouth, and a bad smell in your mouth.
However, the easiest way to know whether you need root canal therapy is to simply book a cleaning and dental exam with us. One of our gentle carefree hygienists can give you a thorough oral health cleaning, and one of our highly skilled dentists will provide you an full thorough dental assessment to ensure your teeth are healthy.
The Root Canal Procedure
In a scenario where you would need a root canal, the procedure varies depends case by case, and our dentist will let you know what to expect. Typically, our dentist will prepare you a local anesthetic to numb the area surrounding the infected tooth at the start. As the root canal procedure progresses, our dentist will make an opening in the tooth to reach the root canal system to access the damage pulp. The infected nerves or damaged nerves are removed with very fine dental instruments and the insides of the tooth is disinfected and cleaned. The tooth is then fill and seal the tooth using a rubber-like material called gutta-percha and a temporary filliing. On the following appointment, your tooth is restored by a permanent filling and may place a post. Depending on the location of the tooth, the dentist may be required to place a crown for added strength.
Please note that after the treatment, it is still possible to receive a cavity or gum disease as the treatment does not protect you from other types of damage. Fortunately, with your continuous efforts in maintaining your teeth at home and your regular visits with our dental hygienists, your tooth can last as long as your other teeth.
Root Canal therapy or endodontics can take up to 1 to 3 appointments depending on the level of infection control. After the treatment, your tooth may be tender for the first week or two and is NOT common to experience bad pain and swelling.