If you have a dying or dead tooth, your dentist might recommend a root canal procedure in order to save your tooth. This dental procedure is performed to remove tooth pulp that is damaged or diseased, in order to prevent future infections. At Good Choice Dental we perform safe and gentle root canal procedures, with the option of sedation, to ensure you receive the dental treatment you need.
What Is The Tooth Pulp?
The pulp of your tooth is held in its centre along with blood vessels and nerves. Your tooth pulp is very sensitive tissue responsible for feeding the teeth with oxygen and nutrients when you are a child. The pulp also gives your tooth sensation and feeling.
What Causes Damage To The Tooth Pulp?
Decay of the tooth pulp is usually caused by deep infections and decay in your teeth or decay that has developed underneath a filling. It may also be caused by advanced gum disease, or trauma to the mouth that results in damage to the tooth.
What Are The Signs You Need A Root Canal Procedure?
A radiograph is usually the most reliable way to establish whether you need a root canal, but you may experience some of these symptoms too:
- Pain that is worse at night
- Pain that is exacerbated when you each hot, cold or sweet food or drink
- Pain that gets worse when you bite down or chew
- Sharp pain that may include your entire jaw or forehead
- The development of an abscess or swelling in your mouth
It is also possible to need a root canal but not present with any symptoms – this is why it is essential that you visit your dentist twice a year.
Why Is Root Canal Therapy Performed?
A root canal treatment will be performed to save your tooth, and they have a very good success rate, with 90 to 95% of patients who undergo the procedure being able to enjoy a fully functional tooth afterwards.
What Can You Expect From The Root Canal Procedure?
At Good Choice Dental our team is invested in making your experience as comfortable as possible.
Most of our root canal treatments are performed under local anaesthetic, but if you prefer to be sedated, our dentist will happily discuss your options with you.
Taking the x-rays
Once the x-rays have been taken, your dentist will administer local anaesthetic to numb the area. Any sensitivity you may have felt should dissolve as the anaesthetic starts working.
It is very important that the infected and decayed material is removed, along with any old fillings and debris. Sometimes decay occurs just below an old filling, and this will need to be removed. Your dentist will make an opening in the affected tooth.
Shaping the tooth canals
Once the decayed material has been removed your canals must be reshaped. If they are not smoothed out, little pockets can form which attract more bacteria. Depending on the extent of your infection, this step may need to be followed a few times, in order to ensure that all the bacteria has been removed. If this is the case, your dentist will place a temporary filling over the hole, to protect your tooth between visits.
In order to ensure that bacteria do not return in the future, your canals need to be filled permanently with a barrier.
Restoring your damaged tooth
To restore your tooth back its functional state, you will need to have a crown (a large filling) made, to cover up the exposed area and strengthen your tooth.
If you have had local anaesthetic you will be able to drive yourself home after the root canal procedure.
Why You Shouldn’t Ignore An Infection Of Your Tooth Pulp
Infections in the tooth pulp do not self-resolve and untreated infections can cause long term complications. Some of these include
A deeper infection
If the bacteria can get into the pulp chamber of your tooth, they will multiply and cause a deeper infection or abscess that can infect your jaw bone.
The infection can spread beyond the affected tooth and cause bone loss in your jaw bone.
Untreated tooth pulp can ultimately result in tooth loss which, if left untreated can cause drifting and loose teeth in your mouth.
How Long Will A Root Canal Treatment Last?
With good dental care, your treated tooth could last for the rest of your lifetime. It’s vital that you practice good dental hygiene with twice-daily brushing and flossing and visit your dentist every six months to check up on your treated tooth, and to inspect your mouth for any early signs of tooth decay.
Still have questions about the root canal procedure? We’d love to hear from you – please contact our practice for a convenient appointment: (02) 8203 8760.