Are you having excruciating pain from an infected or severely damaged tooth? If so, it is time that you seek medical treatment to prevent further damage and the risk of serious complications. One treatment that a dentist may recommend to you is a root canal treatment to repair and save your affected tooth. 

Root Canal

Root canal used to be painful tens of years ago. However, with today’s advances in dentistry and the help of anesthesia, it should not be a cause of concern for patients around the world anymore. As a matter of fact, it is now more painful to live with a diseased tooth than to receive a root canal. So is this treatment right for you? Let Sydney guide you through the basics of a root canal treatment to help you with your decision making.

What is a root canal treatment?

A root canal treatment, also known as a root canal therapy, or a root canal in short, is a restorative dental procedure where the inflamed tooth pulp is taken out. It is done to reduce pain due to an abscessed or infected tooth. 

Alternatives to a root canal can be a tooth extraction or replacing the tooth with a dental implant, dental bridge, or a traditional partial denture.

What makes people need a root canal?

A root canal is necessary when X-rays of your teeth show that you have a dying or dead pulp due to a bacterial infection.

Every tooth has a core called a tooth pulp, extending from the tooth crown to its root in the jawbone. The pulp comprises nerves, blood vessels, and soft tissue. When a tooth is cracked, broken, or deeply decayed, bacteria can get into the tooth pulp. Another cause of bacteria penetration is a damaged or broken tooth from trauma. If this problem is not treated timely, bacteria and the decay can lead to serious problems, including:

  • Tooth infection;
  • Tooth abscess;
  • Dead tooth pulp;
  • Bone loss;
  • A missing tooth.

Signs of a tooth infection or tooth abscess include:

  • Swelling in the cheek or jaw;
  • A hole in the tooth;
  • Tooth pain, also known as toothache;
  • Swollen gums;
  • A loose tooth;
  • Sensitive to hot or cold foods and beverages.
  • Pus formation at the diseased tooth;
  • A darker-colored tooth.

Patients can receive several advantages from a root canal treatment. Specifically, it helps:

  • Stop tooth infection from spreading to surrounding teeth;
  • Alleviate or eliminate symptoms caused by a tooth infection, including toothache, swelling, pus formation, among others;
  • Reduce the risk of jawbone deterioration;
  • Repair and save the damaged tooth – there is no need for a tooth removal after a root canal.

Root Canal

What steps does a root canal procedure involve?

A root canal is carried out in an overall of three separate steps, taking from one to three dental visits.

Removing the tooth pulp

To start the procedure, the dental care provider will put you under local anesthesia then make a small incision into the tooth. Next, they will proceed to remove the dying or dead pulp tissue in the root canal using tiny files.

Filling the root canal

The space left will be shaped and disinfected by the dentist using tiny files and special solutions. After that, the tooth is filled with a rubber-like material then the canals are cemented shut using a specialized adhesive. 

The tooth is considered dead following a root canal. That means you will not feel any toothache because all the nerve tissue is gone and so is the tooth infection.

Adding a dental crown or dental filling

After the root canal takes place, the tooth becomes more fragile than before. A pulpless tooth is supposed to receive the necessary nourishment from the ligament connecting it to the bone. This supply should be enough but the tooth itself will become more brittle overtime so extra support from a dental crown or filling is needed.

Prior to getting a crown or filling after a root canal procedure, you need to avoid chewing or biting on the affected tooth. Having a crown or filling usually takes you one visit to the dentist. However, for more complex cases, such as with curved canals, multi-canals or a widespread infection, a patient may need one or two more dental visits.

How painful is a root canal treatment?

One of the biggest factors that make patients reluctant in choosing a root canal is the fear of pain. However, if the treatment is carried out at a reputable dental clinic by a certified, experienced dentist, a root canal should be almost pain-free.

Most of the time, the pain that you may feel is from the existing tooth infection and not from the procedure itself. Rest assured that a root canal doesn’t cause pain – it on the other hand helps make it go away for good.

To help you have a comfortable and painless procedure, the surgeon will use local anesthesia to numb your tooth and the adjacent area up.

Following a root canal, it is not rare to experience mild tenderness in the surgical area. This problem is only temporary and should be helped with OTC pain relievers. If deemed necessary, the surgeon may prescribe you some medications to alleviate the pain, like codeine. They will also prescribe an antibiotic to prevent or treat an infection.

Generally speaking, a root canal is considered an extremely safe and effective tooth restoration treatment. The success rates are impressive, of up to 98%.

What to expect after a root canal therapy?

Your tooth is restored after a root canal. The crown or filling added to your tooth should function and look like original teeth. The results from this treatment can possibly last for your whole life with good oral care and maintenance. Proper care includes:

  • Keeping your teeth clean by brushing, flossing, and rinsing with a mouthwash at least twice a day;
  • Limiting sugary foods and drinks;
  • Quitting smoking;
  • Pay regular visits to the dentist for dental check-ups and cleaning.

Root Canal

When to seek dental help?

If you have any symptoms of an infected or abscessed tooth, such as toothache, swelling, bad taste in the mouth, and other symptoms, reach out to your dentist right away. The sooner you have the infection addressed, the better chance at saving your tooth that you have. 

Make sure to attend periodic check-ups with your dental care provider to detect early problems and get treatment accordingly. This helps reduce the risk of a tooth infection and other serious complications.

A word from Sydney

Hopefully this read on root canal treatment from Sydney is informative and helpful to you in choosing between your tooth restoration options. If you are still unsure of anything in search of a new unforgettably stunning smile, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are at 499-501 Ba Hat St, Ward 8, District 10, HCMC, Vietnam looking forward to your visit. You may also call us at (028) 3504 9440 for a free no-obligation comprehensive consultation. Your pretty, shiny smile is 100% guaranteed at Sydney Dental!