You may have heard of a root canal treatment, or maybe you know someone who has had this procedure. The words ‘root canal’ are often associated with painful dental work, yet we’re here to dispel the myths. So, what exactly is a root canal, and what does this type of dental work consist of? Let’s take a closer look.
When understanding what a root canal is, you need to know the anatomy of a tooth. Teeth consist of material that sits above the gum line, and roots that anchor the teeth below. Teeth roots have a hard outer structure, while inside a small channel contains soft pulp which is a collection of nerves as blood vessels. This channel is known as the ‘root canal’.
If decay or a chip in a tooth goes untreated, it may lead to decay deeper in the tooth. Over time, this can create further problems such as tooth abscesses. If this is the case, your dentist may recommend root canal treatment.
If you have a painful tooth due to decay, you may either need a filling or a root canal. Your dentist will be able to examine and x-ray the affected tooth to determine the best treatment.
Common signs that you may need root canal treatment include:
It is important to seek treatment as soon as possible if you notice any decay or unusual sensation in your teeth. This will help you to feel better quickly and prevent further dental issues, such as tooth removal if decay has spread too far.
During root canal treatment, your dentist will typically give you a local anesthetic before drilling into the crown of the affected tooth to reach the root canal.
Small instruments are used to remove any infected pulp from inside, then the area is filled and sealed with a temporary crown filling.
You may need two or more visits to your dentist to complete the treatment, as a more permanent crown may be required.
Root canal treatment is not a painful procedure, and feels like having a regular filling, although it takes a little longer to complete.
You may experience slight pain and swelling after having root canal treatment, however your dentist will be able to provide you with relief recommendations.
Take care when eating after you have had the treatment, and avoid chewing using the affected tooth until it has settled down.
Once your tooth has recovered, continue with a good oral hygiene routine by brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing every day.
If you are experiencing tooth pain and suspect you may need a root canal, book a consultation with your dental professional at the earliest opportunity. This will help you to avoid the possibility of a tooth extraction and keep your smile healthy and beautiful.
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