A root canal treatment is used to treat an infected tooth, which can be very painful! Although a lot of patients associate root canal treatment with pain, the treatment actually gets rid of the pain, by treating the infection at the centre of the tooth.
The pulp or commonly called the nerve, is the soft tissue at the centre of the tooth, is part of the root canal system which goes from the crown of the tooth to the end of the root. If an infection reaches the pulp, it can cause the following symptoms.
- Pain when eating or drinking
- Sensitivity to hot and cold
- A loose tooth
- Pain when biting or chewing
If you experience any of the above symptoms it’s very important to see your dentist immediately. Once the pulp is infected, it cannot heal by itself. If left untreated the infection can travel through the entire tooth and cause more severe symptoms such as facial swelling, the tooth becoming a darker colour, pus, and swollen gums.
Once the tooth is infected, you may have the option of root canal treatment or tooth extraction. If you have the option of keeping the original tooth, you should take it. Tooth extraction can cause damage to the surrounding teeth, so whenever possible, it’s highly recommended that you keep your tooth. Root canal treatment is very effective, with a high success rate.
During root canal treatment, the bacteria will be thoroughly removed from the tooth, and the roots will be filled and sealed. Root canal treatment is very effective, and is performed under local anesthetic, so it is not painful.
Root canal treatment is often split over two appointments. Between the two treatments, you should protect your tooth as much as possible by avoiding any food or drink that could be harmful, not biting down on anything hard, and keeping up with your oral hygiene routine.
After your final root canal treatment, the tooth may be sensitive for a few days. You should avoid biting down on hard or sticky foods. There may be some pain or swelling, for which you can take over-the-counter painkillers. If this persists past a few days or becomes more severe, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible.
After your root canal treatment, you should maintain excellent oral hygiene habits to avoid the need for further treatment. This includes brushing at least twice daily, flossing daily, avoiding sugary or acidic food and drink, not smoking, and seeing your dentist for regular cleanings.