Everything you need to know about a root canal procedure
Thousands of teeth are treated and saved every year with a root canal, or endodontic treatment. When the nerves of your tooth become infected, undergoing a successful treatment, will allow you to retain your tooth as opposed to having it pulled out. Saving your natural teeth means that you won’t have to replace them with artificial ones. The following information will provide you with everything you need to know about a root canal procedure.
What you need to know about the treatment?
Inside the tooth, beneath the white enamel and a tough layer known as dentin, there is a soft tissue called the pulp. This tissue contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue that help to grow the root of your teeth during development. A root canal procedure is used to treat an infection at the center of a tooth. In most cases, such infections are caused by bacteria that are present in the mouth, but later on invade the teeth. This normally happens after tooth decay, leaky fillings, or damage to teeth due to trauma such as a fall. Contrary to what some people may think, a modern endodontic treatment is quite similar to a routine filling and can be completed in one or two appointments depending on the condition of the patient’s tooth.
How the procedure is performed
In order to treat an infection in the root canal, bacteria have to be removed. This can be achieved by either with an endodontic procedure, or through tooth extraction. However, most dentists do not recommend tooth extraction since it’s always better to keep as many of your natural teeth as possible.
After all the bacteria have been removed, the root canal will be filled and then the tooth sealed using a filling or crown. Usually, the inflamed tissue around the tooth will heal on its own. An endodontic procedure involves the use of an anesthetic, so it shouldn’t be painful or any more unpleasant than a routine filling. Root canal treatments have a high success rate, since approximately in 9 out of 10 cases, the patients tooth survives up to 10 years after the procedure.
Recovering from the procedure
It is essential that you take proper care of your teeth during the recovering period after a root canal treatment. This means keeping away from hard foods until things are back to normal. After your last appointment, you should not experience any pain from your newly restored tooth; however, it may be a bit sensitive for the first couple of days. Over the counter painkillers such ibuprofen or paracetamol can be used to relieve any discomfort. In case you continue to experience significant pain or swelling after taking painkillers, you should consult your dentist. In most cases, patients can prevent any further need for root canal treatments by practicing good oral hygiene, avoiding sugary foods, and giving up bad habits like smoking.
As mentioned earlier, a huge portion of endodontic treatments end up being very successful. However, in one or two cases, a second procedure may be required, which is called a retreatment. During a follow up procedure, the root canal filling material is removed and the root canal is re-shaped, re-cleaned, and refilled.