If you have an infected tooth, and the infection has spread to the soft tissue in the roots of that tooth, it will be very painful. If left untreated, the affected tooth will need to be extracted, and the infection can spread to neighbouring teeth, gums, and other tissues.
Getting the tooth treated as soon as possible will help you avoid severe tooth pain that increases as your infection becomes worse.
What Are Root Canals?
Protected by your layers of tooth enamel and dentin, your tooth roots are hollow but filled with dental pulp. This pulp consists of connective tissue, nerves, and blood vessels, which provide nutrients for the tooth and support it.
Bacteria can enter into a tooth through cavities, fillings, and cracks, or fractures. When an infected tooth has deep decay and is untreated, the infection can spread to the root canals. Inflamed or infected pulp needs to be removed in a root canal procedure to get rid of the infection, stop spreading and prevent reinfection.
Symptoms include severe tooth pain, especially throbbing pain in the tooth, sensitivity, swelling and redness, and pus or abscesses near the tooth. You may not have any symptoms despite having pulp inflammation and infection; regular dental checkups are critical for diagnosing the issue in these cases.
What Is the Root Canal Procedure?
A root canal is a dental procedure known as an endodontic treatment. The inside of the infected tooth’s root pulp is treated.
During this endodontic surgery, the dead and infected tissue of the pulp in the roots of the tooth is cleaned out, to eliminate the infection and prevent future infections. It is a common procedure, with a high success rate.
Local anesthesia is used, so you won’t feel any significant pain.
A rubber dam is fitted around your tooth to keep bacteria out. Your oral surgeon will make a tiny hole in your tooth to be able to access the root canals and reach the dead or infected pulp. The pulp is very carefully scraped out with dental instruments. The surgeon then rinses out the cleared out canals with an antibacterial wash.
Sometimes, you may need to come back for a second treatment, to make sure the canals are completely cleaned out. In the meantime, your tooth will be given a temporary filling to keep it clean and reduce sensitivity. This filling will only last about six weeks, so you will need to come back for your second root canal therapy treatment by that time.
For the second visit, you will be given a local anesthetic again, and the same process as the previous time will be followed.
When your tooth is fully cleaned, either on the first or second visit, it will be filled with gutta percha as a permanent filling. Your dentist may also add a crown to your tooth to help protect it.
After Your Root Canal Treatment
Your dentist or surgeon will provide you with complete post-operative care instructions.
After your root canal treatment, you may have some sensitivity for a week, but you shouldn’t have severe pain or swelling. Any discomfort you have should be manageable with over-the-counter painkillers. If you need two treatments, you will need to avoid using the tooth until after the second treatment and the permanent filling is placed.
Root Canal Safety and Oral Hygiene
After the area has healed, you can maintain regular, good oral hygiene to keep it clean and healthy, the same way you care for your other teeth. You can still get gum disease or cavities in the tooth. Be sure to continue visiting your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.
There are rarely complications with a root canal treatment, and it is successful 95% of the time. However, in rare cases, a root canal retreatment is needed. If there are still concerns, the root will be checked for fractures, and any portion of the root that can’t be cleaned completely will be removed.
Why Are Root Canals Better Than Having a Tooth Extracted?
There are a few reasons why having root canal therapy is recommended.
If left, the tooth can cause significant pain which will only increase. A root canal treatment will stop this pain, and prevent your tooth from dying and falling out or needing extraction. It also stops the spread of infection to other teeth and soft tissues.
Natural teeth are better for oral health. Your tooth roots stimulate your jaw bone so you don’t experience a loss of bone mass, which can lead to other teeth becoming loose and falling out. Saving the tooth means you don’t need to investigate tooth replacement options. With your tooth restored from the root canal therapy, you can regain full speaking and chewing function, just as you had before.
Infected tooth pulp causes significant pain; if you are in extreme pain, contact Hamilton Mountain Dental Clinic to see if you may need root canal therapy to help you keep your natural tooth. The treatment is not painful, despite its bad reputation, and it will quickly relieve your tooth pain.