Your dentist will remove the infected pulp, clean the inside of the tooth, and seal it to prevent further infection.
9 March 2023
If you’re experiencing severe tooth pain or sensitivity, you may be a candidate for a root canal. While this procedure may sound intimidating, it’s a common dental treatment that can save your tooth and prevent the need for extraction. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about root canals, from understanding the symptoms to aftercare tips. By the end of this blog post, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of this important dental procedure and how it can benefit your overall dental health.
What is Root Canal
A root canal is a dental procedure used to treat infected or inflamed tooth pulp. The pulp is the soft tissue inside your tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels. When the pulp becomes infected, it can cause severe pain and sensitivity. During a root canal, your dentist will remove the infected pulp, clean the inside of the tooth, and seal it to prevent further infection.
Symptoms of a Root Canal
There are common symptoms that may indicate the need for a root canal. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek treatment from a dentist as soon as possible to prevent further damage and alleviate pain. Understanding the signs of an infected tooth can help you identify the problem early and take action to preserve your dental health. Take a closer look at the symptoms of a root canal.
- Severe tooth pain
One of the most common symptoms of a root canal is severe tooth pain. The pain may be constant or intermittent and can range from mild to excruciating. You may experience pain when chewing or biting down, or it may be triggered by hot or cold temperatures. The pain may also be accompanied by swelling or tenderness in the surrounding gums.
- Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
Another common symptom of a root canal is sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. You may feel a sharp, shooting pain in your tooth when you eat or drink something hot or cold. This sensitivity may be persistent or intermittent and can be a sign that the pulp inside your tooth is infected or inflamed.
- Swollen or tender gums
Swollen or tender gums are also common symptoms of a root canal. If the pulp inside your tooth is infected or inflamed, it can cause an abscess to form at the root of the tooth. This can lead to swelling, tenderness, or even a small bump on the gums near the affected tooth. In some cases, the swelling may be accompanied by a discharge of pus.
- Discolouration of the tooth
Discolouration of the tooth is another symptom that may indicate the need for a root canal. If the pulp inside your tooth is infected or damaged, it can cause the tooth to become discoloured or appear grayish in colour. This discolouration may be a sign that the tooth is no longer receiving proper blood flow and may require a root canal to save it.
- Pus or discharge around the tooth
Pus or discharge around the tooth is a symptom that may indicate a serious infection and the need for a root canal. If the pulp inside your tooth is infected, it can cause an abscess to form at the root of the tooth. This can lead to the discharge of pus or a foul taste in your mouth. If you notice any pus or discharge around the affected tooth, it’s important to seek immediate dental care. Left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of your body and cause further health problems. A root canal may be necessary to remove the infected pulp and prevent the spread of infection.
The Root Canal Treatment
If you’re scheduled to have a root canal or are curious about what the treatment entails, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll cover the steps involved in the procedure, what to expect during and after the treatment, and how to care for your tooth afterward. Our goal is to help you feel informed and comfortable about the procedure and ensure that you have the knowledge you need to maintain good dental health. So, let’s get started with the root canal procedure.
The first appointment for a root canal procedure is an important step in the process. It’s during this initial visit that your dentist will examine your tooth, take X-rays, and determine the extent of the damage. They will also discuss the procedure with you, explain what to expect, and answer any questions you may have. There are the various steps involved, what to bring to the appointment, and how to prepare beforehand. Here’s what happens during the first appointment for a root canal procedure:
- Numbing the area – Before beginning the root canal procedure, your dentist will need to numb the area around the affected tooth. This is typically done by administering a local anesthetic, which will help to prevent any pain or discomfort during the procedure. Numbing the area is an essential step in the process, as it helps to ensure that the procedure is as comfortable and pain-free as possible.
- Making an opening in the tooth – After numbing the area, the next step is to make an opening in the top of the tooth. This opening allows the dentist to access the pulp chamber and root canals of the tooth. The size of the opening will depend on the tooth being treated and the extent of the damage. Your dentist will use a small drill or other specialised tools to create the opening.
- Removing the infected pulp – Once the opening in the tooth has been made, your dentist will use specialised tools to carefully remove the damaged or infected pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals of the tooth. This process can take some time, as the dentist must be thorough to ensure that all the damaged or infected tissue is removed. Removing the pulp helps to eliminate the source of the infection and prevent it from spreading further.
- Cleaning the inside of the tooth – Your dentist will carefully clean and shape the root canals in preparation for filling. This process helps to remove any remaining bacteria and debris from the tooth, reducing the risk of further infection. Your dentist may use an antimicrobial solution to help disinfect the inside of the tooth and reduce the risk of further infection. Once the inside of the tooth has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, your dentist will shape the canals in preparation for filling.
Once the inside of the tooth has been thoroughly cleaned and prepared, you’ll need to return to your dentist for a second appointment to complete the root canal treatment. During this appointment, your dentist will fill and seal the inside of the tooth to prevent further infection and restore its function. This part of the procedure is just as important as the first appointment, as it helps to ensure the long-term success of the root canal treatment. Here’s what you can expect during the second appointment of a root canal procedure:
- Filling the tooth – One of the most critical steps in the second appointment of a root canal procedure is filling the tooth. Your dentist will carefully insert the filling into the prepared canals, ensuring that it completely fills the space and seals it off from bacteria and other debris. Once the filling has been inserted, your dentist will use a heated instrument to melt it and further seal the inside of the tooth. This step is essential to ensure the long-term success of the root canal procedure, as it prevents bacteria from entering the canals and causing further infection. After it has been sealed, your dentist will place a temporary filling over the tooth to protect it until the final restoration can be completed.
- Placing a filling or crown on top of the tooth – After temporary filling has been placed, the final step in the root canal procedure is to place a permanent restoration on top of the tooth. Depending on the extent of the damage to the tooth, your dentist may recommend either a filling or a crown. A filling is typically used when the damage is relatively minor and the tooth can still support a filling material. However, if the damage is more extensive or if the tooth is weakened from the procedure, a crown may be necessary to provide additional support and protection.
In some instances, a third appointment may be required after a root canal procedure has been performed. While this is not always the case, it may be necessary if there are any complications or issues that arise during the healing process.
A third appointment typically occurs a few weeks after the second appointment, giving the tooth time to heal and ensuring that any remaining infection or inflammation has subsided.
During this appointment, your dentist will evaluate the progress of your healing and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that the tooth is properly restored and protected. This may include other diagnostic tests to assess the health of the tooth and surrounding tissues. Your dentist will also check to make sure that the tooth is not experiencing any sensitivity or pain, and that the temporary or permanent restoration is properly fitted and functioning.
If any issues or concerns are identified during the third appointment, your dentist may need to perform additional treatment or adjustments to ensure that the tooth is properly restored and protected.
After the Procedure
Once the root canal procedure is complete, it’s important to take proper care of the treated tooth to ensure proper healing and long-term success. This includes following specific aftercare instructions and scheduling follow-up appointments with your dentist as needed.
Proper Care Instructions
Proper care of the treated tooth after a root canal procedure is important for ensuring successful healing and long-term oral health. Your dentist will provide you with specific care instructions to follow after your procedure, which may include steps to take immediately after the procedure as well as long-term care recommendations. These instructions are designed to help you care for your treated tooth and promote optimal healing and recovery.
- Avoiding hard or sticky foods – Following a root canal procedure, avoid hard or sticky foods that could damage or dislodge the temporary filling or crown. This may include foods like hard candy, popcorn, and chewing gum. Stick to soft, easy-to-chew foods like mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables, and scrambled eggs until your permanent filling or crown is in place.
- Brushing and flossing regularly – Regular brushing and flossing is important for maintaining good oral hygiene, especially after a root canal procedure. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and be sure to floss at least once a day to remove any food particles or plaque that may have accumulated between your teeth. Be sure to follow your dentist’s specific recommendations for brushing and flossing after your root canal procedure.
- Regular check-ups with your dentist – Your dentist may schedule follow-up appointments to check on the status of the treated tooth and ensure that there are no further complications or issues. Make sure to attend all follow-up appointments and report any concerns or symptoms you may be experiencing to your dentist right away.
Symptoms to Watch for
Even after a successful root canal procedure, it’s important to be aware of any symptoms or changes that may indicate a problem. While most patients experience little to no discomfort after a root canal, some may still experience symptoms such as pain, sensitivity, or swelling. In some cases, these symptoms may indicate that there is an infection or other complication that requires further treatment. These are some symptoms to watch for after your root canal procedure, and what you should do if you experience them.
- Pain or discomfort – While it’s normal to experience some mild discomfort following a root canal procedure, persistent or severe pain can be a sign of a problem. Pain or discomfort may be a sign of an infection, a poorly fitted crown or filling, or other issues. If you experience pain or discomfort that persists for more than a few days, contact your dentist. They may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or prescribe medication to manage your symptoms. In some cases, additional treatment may be necessary to address the underlying issue.
- Swelling or tenderness – It’s common to experience some mild swelling or tenderness immediately following the procedure, but if these symptoms persist or worsen over time, it’s important to contact your dentist. Your dentist may need to prescribe antibiotics or perform additional treatment to address the issue. In some cases, swelling or tenderness may be a sign of an allergic reaction to the materials used during the root canal procedure.
- Discharge or foul odour – This can occur if bacteria are able to re-enter the tooth following the procedure. The infection may be treated with antibiotics. Additional procedures may be necessary to remove the infected tissue and prevent further complications.
Importance of Root Canal Treatment
Seeking prompt treatment for root canals is important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, root canals are often performed to alleviate severe pain and discomfort caused by infected or damaged pulp. By addressing the underlying issue, a root canal can provide significant relief and improve your overall quality of life. Additionally, a root canal can help to prevent the spread of infection and reduce the risk of further complications, such as abscesses or tooth loss. Finally, by treating a damaged or infected tooth with a root canal, you can avoid the need for more invasive procedures down the line, such as tooth extraction or dental implants. If you are experiencing symptoms of a root canal, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible to protect your oral health and wellbeing.
Contact Innovative Dental for Root Canal Treatment
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms discussed in this guide, it could be a sign of a root canal infection. Ignoring these symptoms could lead to further damage and potential tooth loss.
At Innovative Dental, we understand the importance of prompt and effective treatment for root canal infections. Our experienced team of dental professionals utilises the latest technology and techniques to provide personalised treatment plans that address the unique needs of each patient.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns or questions about root canals or any other dental procedures. We are here to help you achieve optimal oral health and a beautiful smile. Let us help you take the first step towards a healthier, happier smile.