Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment is another common dental procedure that people feel anxious about due to frightening stories they research on the internet or hear about from family and friends. As you will read below, root canal treatment is nothing to be concerned about! In fact, root canal treatment is like a little tooth lifesaver! This procedure thankfully gives dentists the opportunity to save teeth instead of extracting them. Have a look at some of the myths and facts surrounding root canal so we can put aside some of those concerns.
MYTH: We cut or remove the nerve
FACT: The nerve, or pulp which is the soft tissue deep inside a tooth, is removed only if is infected and dead and not repairable as it can cause more infection to spread. However, after the pulp has been removed, the tooth is not ‘dead’. The tooth can survive without the pulp because it is nourished mostly by tissues around it.
MYTH: Root canal procedure is very painful.
FACT: It is not as painful as what make people make it out to be. This perception began decades ago but these days with modern technologies and anaesthetics, root canal treatment is no more uncomfortable than having a filling done. The pain that can be experienced due to an infected or inflamed tooth/nerve will be relieved after root canal treatment is performed. Some pain may still be experienced as the effect of anaesthesia wears off as the inflamed tissues at the root of the tooth are still in the process of healing, which can be relieved with the help of painkillers such as ibuprofen and prescribed antibiotics. The tooth may feel more sensitive, especially if there was a severe infection prior to the procedure but this will increasingly improve.
MYTH: Tooth extraction is a better alternative to root canal treatment.
FACT: If the root canal procedure is performed properly, the restored tooth can last for many years, or even a lifetime.
It is always preferable to save your teeth when possible as nothing, even an artificial tooth, can completely replace your natural teeth however good it may be as it will never be more than a substitute. Doing so you will be able to continue to enjoy the wide variety of foods necessary to maintain the proper nutrient balance in your diet as they are stronger and more efficient for biting and chewing.
So in order to save the tooth when the pulp is severely inflamed or infected, root canal treatment is needed when the pulp becomes severely inflamed or infected.
Root canal treatment is also a cost-effective way to treat teeth and is usually less expensive than extraction and placement of a bridge or an implant. Placement of a bridge or an implant will also require significantly more time in treatment and may result in further procedures to adjacent teeth and supporting tissues.
Q. So what will happen if I decide to pull my tooth out?
When a tooth is extracted, nearby teeth can move and tilt into the space left by the missing tooth. This can make biting and chewing difficult, can lead to further decay and gum disease and can change the natural appearance of your smile. The opposing tooth can also over erupt bringing it up or down into the missing space.
Q. What causes an infection or inflammation of the pulp?
- Breakdown of a filling or crown
- A deep cavity
- Gum Disease
- Crack of chip in the tooth
- Extensive dental work to the tooth
Q. What symptoms may I experience?
- Symptoms may include pain, especially at night
- Sensitivity to hot and cold
- Tooth discolouration
- Swelling or soreness in the gums surrounding the tooth
Q. What is involved in having root canal treatment?
- To improve the chances of success, root canal treatment should be started as soon as possible. If the pulp of the tooth is not treated quickly, severe pain and abscesses can occur. If any abscess is left untreated, infection can damage the bone surrounding the root. If the tooth does not have root canal treatment, it will have to be removed.
- If a severe abscess has formed, oral antibiotics may be needed to treat the infection.
- You may need to make several visits to complete the treatment and each time a temporary filling will placed to protect the inside of the tooth until your next visit.
Q. So what now?
- Once the root canal treatment has been completed, follow up visits may be advised to see whether the treated tooth is healing satisfactorily. It is also recommended to ensure good oral hygiene habits are maintained such as brushing, flossing and of course regular dental check-ups to avoid any emergency treatment in the future. Prevention is much better than cure!
- Due to the increased risk of fractures as the treated tooth may be brittle, it is usually advised for a crown to be placed 3-6 months after that root canal is completed.
Note: The aim of this general information is to educate the reader about root Canal Treatment and may not essentially contain all aspects of the treatment. It would be beneficial to see us for a consultation to discuss the procedure and all of the associated complications.
Give us a call on (03) 5821 2388 to book an appointment and our dentist will be more than happy to answer all of your concerns.