Although root canal therapy is frequently dreaded and misunderstood, it is essentially a routine dental surgery that can salvage a tooth that has been seriously decayed or diseased. Even though some people may feel anxious at the mere idea of a root canal, the truth is that this procedure can reduce pain and avoid the need for tooth extraction.
Modern methods and anesthetics have made root canals a reasonably painless and simple surgery that can restore your teeth’s health and function.
In this article, we’ll examine root canal therapy in detail, dispel some myths, and give you insight into what to anticipate if you require it. Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about what a root canal is.
What Is Root Canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure that involves removing the infected or damaged pulp (nerve) of a tooth, cleaning and disinfecting the inside of the tooth, and filling it with a material to seal it and prevent further infection.
The pulp is a soft tissue that houses nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. Deep decay, frequent dental operations, cracks or chips in the tooth, or trauma can cause the pulp to become infected or inflamed. Untreated pulp infections can result in tooth loss or other health issues, as well as excruciating pain, swelling, and abscesses. The greatest option to salvage a broken tooth and avoid extraction is frequently through root canal therapy.
What Are The Signs That You Need A Root Canal?
There are several signs that you may need a root canal. These include:
- Severe tooth pain: This is often the most common sign that you need a root canal. The pain may be constant or intermittent and may be triggered by biting or chewing.
- Sensitivity to heat and cold: If you suddenly get severe pain when you eat or drink something hot or cold, it could be an indication that the pulp within your tooth is infected or destroyed.
- Swollen gums: Infection may be indicated by swelling or discomfort around the tooth in question.
- A tooth that has gotten discoloured or blackened could be an indication of an infection or damage to the nerves.
It’s crucial to schedule an appointment with your dentist right away if you’re feeling any of these symptoms. If you require a root canal or another sort of treatment, only a dentist can make that determination.
What Exactly Happens In A Root Canal?
- To make sure the patient is at ease and pain-free throughout the treatment, the dentist or endodontist will first numb the area around the tooth using local anaesthetic. To access the pulp chamber and root canals, a small access hole will then be made at the top of the tooth.
- Next, the dentist will use special instruments to carefully remove the infected or damaged pulp from the tooth, as well as any debris or bacteria in the root canals. The canals will then be cleaned, shaped, and disinfected with a series of irrigation solutions.
- The dentist will fill the canals with gutta-percha, a rubber-like substance after they have been completely cleaned and shaped. This seals the canals and stops the further infection. Finally, a temporary filling will be used to cover the access hole in the tooth, and the patient will be given instructions on how to take care of the tooth while it heals.
- After a root canal, in some situations, a dental crown may be advised to protect the tooth and restore its function. Overall, a root canal is a very efficient way to save a tooth that has been hurt and relieve any pain or suffering brought on by infected or damaged pulp.
Is It Painful To Have A Root Canal?
Root canals are sometimes misunderstood as being a painful and uncomfortable operation. However, thanks to current methods and anaesthetics, root canal therapy is today a reasonably simple and painless process.
Your dentist will use a local anaesthetic to numb the region around the problematic tooth during the surgery, so you shouldn’t experience any pain or discomfort. Your dentist may occasionally provide anaesthesia to make you more comfortable throughout the operation.
What To Expect After A Root Canal
After a root canal procedure, your dentist will give you instructions on how to care for your treated tooth and what to expect in the days and weeks following the procedure. Some common post-procedure instructions may include:
- Pain management: You may experience some mild discomfort or sensitivity around the affected tooth after the procedure. Your dentist may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or prescribe medication to manage any pain.
- Temporary filling: Your dentist will place a temporary filling in the access hole created to perform the root canal. This filling will protect the tooth until it is restored with a permanent filling or crown.
- Diet restrictions: You may need to avoid chewing on the treated tooth for a few days or until you receive a permanent restoration.
- Oral hygiene: It’s important to continue brushing and flossing your teeth regularly and keeping your mouth clean to prevent further infection.
- Follow-up appointment: Your dentist will schedule a follow-up appointment to monitor your progress and ensure that the treated tooth is healing properly.
How Long Do Root Canals Last?
Several variables, including the calibre of the dental treatment, the degree of tooth damage, and how well you maintain your oral health, might affect how long a root canal lasts.
In general, a root canal can last a lifetime if the treated tooth is correctly replaced with a dental crown or filling and if you follow good oral hygiene habits including brushing, flossing, and frequent checkups with your dentist.