If you’re about to have a root canal treatment, you might be a bit worried about the whole thing, especially if your friends have been filling your head with scary stories.
Well, don’t worry too much — not only are root canals nearly painless, but they also remove damage to your teeth that is certain to cause pain if it is not causing it already: Root canal treatment doesn’t cause pain — it relieves it!
At Preston Supreme Dental we put together this handy guide to what you can expect during your root canal.
What is a root canal?
The root canal is in the inside section of a tooth root. Inside each tooth, running down through the roots, are soft tissues, nerves, and blood vessels. Together they comprise the pulp. A root canal treatment is the extraction and replacement of the pulp.
Why might I need a root canal?
A root canal system may become infected or inflamed for various reasons:
- Deep Cavities. If you have decay that reaches deep into a tooth, bacteria can enter the pulp, resulting in infection or abscess.
- Chipped or Cracked Teeth. A cracked or chipped tooth may allow infection to reach the pulp.
- Trauma. If a tooth is damaged, an infection in the root canals may be the result.
Signs you might need a root canal
- You suffer moderate to extreme tooth pain when drinking hot/cold liquids or eating hot/cold foods.
- Pain or sensitivity when chewing or biting on a tooth. There may also be slight swelling.
- Your toothache pain either keeps you up or wakes you up at night.
- You have a lump on your gum that resembles a pimple and when pressed may bleed or ooze pus.
- Pain that begins in a tooth then radiates to other regions of your jaw or head.
The process of the root canal
The root canal can take multiple visits, generally about two. The following description includes all the steps.
Be prepared for X-rays as they will become the guide for your dentist’s hands and tools.
Preparing your mouth and tooth. We completely numb your tooth and surrounding tissues with local anesthesia to ensure there will be no pain. In some cases, less-traditional forms of anesthesia, such as laughing gas or sedation, may be used.
If you have concerns about this, talk to us about other options for making you as comfortable as possible. We isolate the affected tooth with a thin sheet of vinyl or rubber called a rubber dam to ensure a sterile environment while working on the tooth.
Drilling, cleaning, and draining. Once the anesthesia is in effect and the rubber dam has isolated the tooth, we will drill a hole in the tooth to allow extraction of bacteria, pulp, and nerves. With the hole in place, small tools will be used to scrape away all the damaged interior of the tooth.
Once the tooth has been thoroughly cleaned, it is sealed. It may be sealed on the first appointment or, for instance, if an infection is present, it may be treated and filled at the next visit.
If the root canal is not finished at the first appointment, a temporary filling is placed so that you don’t have an annoying hole in your tooth that allows contaminants like saliva and food into the tooth.
Final steps. At the next appointment, a sealing paste and rubber compound called gutta percha are placed into the tooth’s root canal to fill its interior. To close the hole drilled at the beginning of treatment, a filling is placed. Finally, in many cases, a restoration is placed on the tooth.
Because a tooth requiring a root canal often has a large filling, extensive decay or structural damage, a crown, crown and post, or other restoration may be placed.
- Anesthesia may leave you feeling numb, uncomfortable, or even disoriented. It is often wise to bring a friend with you, to take you home when the treatment is complete.
- Avoid chewing solid or hot food until all numbness is gone.
- Avoid strenuous activity and get lots of rest.
- Take pain medication as recommended or prescribed by your dentist.
- If antibiotics are prescribed, take them as directed and take all doses until the prescription is empty.
- Don’t eat sticky or hard foods until your dentist gives you permission.
- Continue to brush and floss normally, though delicately near the site of the root canal.
- Call The Preston Dental Team if you’re having severe pain, swelling, bleeding, or any other unusual reactions.
To further ease your concern- make sure your root canal is from a skilled and trusted dentist. Let Preston Dental take the discomfort and fear out of the procedure. We are ready to answer your questions. Contact us by phone, website, or schedule your appointment online.
For more information about root canal call us on (03) 9478 7708 or visit us at 243 Murray Road in Preston.