Root Canal Treatment
A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures, with over 14 million performed every year. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need of dental implants or bridges.
At the center of your tooth is a collection of blood vessels known as ‘pulp’ that helps to build the surrounding tooth. Infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, decay, cracks, chips or repeated dental work.
If you experience visible injury, sensitivity to temperature or pain in the tooth and gums, your dentist will most likely recommend a root canal to remove the diseased pulp and prevent further damage. The injured pulp is removed and the hollow root of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. Root canals are usually done using local anesthetic and may be completed in one or more visits depending on the treatment required.
Your dentist will help you to decide on the best type of restoration to protect your tooth. It is rare for root canal patients to experience complications, but if a problem does occur, we are available at all times to respond. As always, a good oral hygiene routine will help to prevent problems.
Generally, a root canal is all that is needed to save a tooth with injured pulp. Occasionally, this non-surgical procedure may not be sufficient to heal the tooth and surgery may be required, but root canals are generally effective in 90% of cases. To prevent the tooth from breaking, a crown is highly advised.
Though 90% of root canals we perform are completed in one appointment, root canal therapy may take more the one appointment to complete. Since anesthetic has been used, your lips, tongue and the roof of your mouth may be numb for several hours after your appointment. Avoid chewing and hot beverages until the numbness has worn off.
Between appointments until the tooth is fully restored, it is common (and not a problem) for a small portion of your temporary filling to wear away or break off. If the entire filling falls out or if the temporary crown comes off, call our office to arrange a time so it can be replaced.
It is normal to experience some discomfort for several days after a root canal appointment. To control discomfort, take the pain medication prescribed by the dentist as recommended.
If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them as directed by your dentist, even if all signs and symptoms of infection are gone. To protect the tooth and keep the temporary in place, avoid eating hard and sticky foods (chewing gum) and if possible, chew on the opposite side of your mouth. Continue to brush and floss normally.
Usually, the last step in root canal treatment is the placement of a crown on the tooth. A crown will protect the tooth from breaking in the future.