A root canal treatment is an endodontic treatment that cleans out infected tissue and damaged or dead tissue from the roots of a tooth, to prevent the infection from spreading. This tissue, or tooth pulp, is taken from inside the spaces in the center of the tooth roots. Healthy, living tissue has nerves and blood vessels to sustain a tooth, but once infected, this tooth pulp needs to be removed. It becomes infected when bacteria spreads through cavities, cracks, or fillings.
A dental filling is used to fill the cleaned-out root canal area. It often takes two visits; a temporary filling is used until the second visit is completed.
Some patients do not experience symptoms but still need root canal therapy to save a tooth. This is why regular dental checkups are so important. X-rays or pulp testing for temperature sensitivity are the only methods to confirm if root canal therapy is needed. At Waterloo West, we create a root canal treatment plan for you, to save your natural tooth, and can handle the procedure in-house for your convenience and comfort.
There are several benefits to having root canal therapy. It prevents the loss of your tooth and spread of infection to other teeth. Some wonder if a tooth extraction is simpler, but keeping a natural tooth is always preferable, to prevent degeneration of the bone and for your overall oral health.
Untreated, the pain in your tooth will increase, and you will have severe toothache pain. With root canal therapy, the pain will stop. Moreover, the procedure itself is not painful, although many patients worry that it will be.
Keeping your natural tooth is better for your overall oral health, helping preserve bone density as well as other benefits. Waterloo West Dentistry always tries to save a tooth whenever possible.
You will be given a local anesthetic, and a rubber dam will be placed around the tooth being treated to protect it from bacteria.
A small opening in the tooth is made to access the root canal system and the pulp chamber with damaged or infected pulp. Your dentist will very carefully remove and clean out the pulp chamber with fine instruments, and will rinse out the area with an antibacterial rinse.
Afterwards, the cleaned out area is sealed with a temporary filling if you need to return for a second treatment, or a permanent filling once all necessary treatment is completed.
You may have sensitivity for a couple of days, which should be manageable with over-the-counter pain medication or anti-inflammatories. This will subside quickly. You will need to avoid using the tooth until the permanent filling is put in. You may need to return for another visit to add a crown to your tooth to protect it better. You will be advised by your dentist on your specific situation.
Practice excellent oral hygiene to prevent a recurrence and to prevent tooth decay in the treated tooth or another. Regular dental checkups and cleanings are important to prevent similar issues in the future.
If you have extreme tooth pain, temperature sensitivity, and redness, swelling, or pus and abscesses near the tooth, and suspect you may have tooth decay or an infected root, do not delay in getting treatment. A root canal procedure is not painful; it will help save your tooth and prevent infection from spreading.
You may need one or two appointments, plus potentially an appointment for a dental crown after. After a root canal treatment, you may have tenderness for a couple of weeks, but excessive pain and swelling are not normal, so you should contact your dentist.
You can still get cavities or gum disease; you do need to practice good oral hygiene, the same way you do for your other teeth.
A root canal treatment is successful 95% of the time. In rare cases, further treatment or root canal surgery is needed.