If you have recently been prescribed a root canal treatment, you may be feeling concerned about what the procedure entails. This is a common treatment that many people experience in their lifetime. Often dental treatment is daunting when you don’t understand it, so here is a short guide to a standard root canal procedure to prepare you for your treatment.
When a Root Canal Procedure is Needed?
Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, is a dental procedure used to treat an infection at the centre of a tooth. If a dental X-ray shows that the infection has begun to damage the pulp of the tooth, a root canal procedure should be performed to prevent the pulp from dying and the bacteria from spreading.
A tooth can become infected due to severe decay, gum disease, or trauma such as a fall that impacts the tooth’s nerve.
Symptoms of a Pulp Infection
Getting treatment for pulp infection early on is key to protecting your teeth. The initial symptoms you should look out for are:
- Pain or discomfort when chewing or biting
- Pain or discomfort when eating or drinking anything hot or cold
- Movement in the tooth
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. As the infection spreads and the pulp begins to deteriorate, these initial symptoms can disappear. This doesn’t mean that your tooth has healed, rather that the infection has spread.
If this happens, you will begin to notice other symptoms such as:
- Persistent, intense discomfort
- Oozing pus
- Swelling of the gum around the tooth
- Discolouration of the tooth
- Facial swelling
A simple root canal procedure prevents an infection from getting to this stage. An infection cannot heal itself, and antibiotics alone cannot cure this type of infection. The longer the tooth is left without intervention, the less effective the endodontic treatment may be.
What Does Root Canal Treatment Involve?
Many patients are nervous about the idea of undergoing root canal treatment, but it is a simple procedure which the skilled dentists at Glebe Dental Group are experienced in performing.
Thanks to our modern dental techniques and anaesthetic options, the treatment is quick and easy.
First, the infected tooth will be isolated with a ‘dam’; a rubber sheet that ensures the infection doesn’t spread. Then the decay is removed, and a channel is created, allowing the infected pulp and nerve to be removed. The canal will be thoroughly sterilised and, once there is no sign of infection, it will be filled with a rubber-based compound, which helps strengthen the tooth.
The root canal procedure often involves the removal of some of the dental structure due to decay. In this case, a dental crown is fitted to restore the tooth’s strength, integrity, and function. The type of crown that is fitted will vary, depending on the location of the tooth. For example, a front tooth is typically given a porcelain crown to retain the natural aesthetic.
Recovering From a Root Canal Procedure
Recovery from a root canal procedure is relatively quick. You may experience some sensitivity, pain, or swelling for the first few days, which can be treated with over the counter medication. Your dentist will give you specific advice about your situation, but it is advisable to avoid hard foods for the first 48 hours. If you are concerned that your tooth is taking a long time to heal, contact your dentist.
To avoid the need for more endodontic treatment in the future, make sure you maintain good oral hygiene. This means cleaning and flossing twice daily, avoiding sugary food, not smoking, not chewing on hard food or objects, and having regular dental checkups.
Enjoy a Healthier Smile with the Glebe Dental Group
Understanding the importance of receiving timely treatment for a pulp infection and spotting the symptoms can help you feel more at ease if you need to undergo this procedure in the future.
At Glebe Dental Group, our experienced team of dentists endeavours to make all our patients feel as relaxed as possible, in addition to providing outstanding dental care.
The best way to avoid the need for a root canal is to have regular dental checkups. Call the Glebe Dental Group to arrange a consultation on (02) 9159 6816 today.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.