Has your dentist recommended you have a root canal? Our Okotoks dentists explain this dental procedure, why you may need one and what you can expect.
Why might I need a root canal?
Your tooth has pulp on the inside, which can become infected with bacteria as a result of a deep cavity or traumatic injury. Only your dentist can examine the tooth and confirm whether you need a root canal.
Root canal therapy (also referred to as endodontics) can save a tooth that has developed a severe infection on the inside. Without treatment, the tooth would die and you would need to have it extracted. Missing teeth can lead to complex dental issues that can be difficult, time consuming and costly to repair. So it always preferable to save the tooth with a root canal if at all possible.
A root canal can preserve your tooth and alleviate symptoms such as:
Severe Toothache Pain
If the tooth pulp is infected, it will often feel painful. You may notice sharp pain whenever you apply pressure to the tooth, such as during chewing. There also might be sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures.
Bump on the Gums
Also known as a dental cyst, this small, pimple-like bump forms on the gums near a tooth that may need a root canal. Dental cysts develop around the roots of an infected or decayed tooth. They may also form if the tooth’s pulp is infected.
Darkening of the Tooth
Infected pulp may cause a tooth to darken in colour due to internal damage. If you notice one of your teeth is a darker shade than the others, there may be an issue with the inner pulp.
What happens during a root canal procedure?
With modern dental technology and techniques, root canal therapy has become a relatively simple and minimally invasive procedure when compared with a tooth extraction or other procedures.
The area will be numbed with anesthesia before your dentist uses a specialized tool to create an opening in the tooth. The bacteria, diseased blood vessels or dead tissue will then be removed from the interior of the tooth. The inner chamber of the tooth will be shaped and irrigated with water, rinsing away any diseased tissue that remains.
Your dentist may also apply an antimicrobial solution to eliminate any remaining bacteria and decrease your risk of further infection.
After the chamber has been thoroughly cleaned and dried, it will be filled with medicated dental material. Your dentist will then place a temporary filling to seal the tooth until a permanent crown is placed.
A few weeks later, the permanent dental crown will be placed to protect the tooth from damage.