You’ve been told you need a root canal treatment. As if the pain of your infected root canal wasn’t enough, now you’re probably worried about what the procedure entails, after all, it does have a negative reputation.
But for everything that’s said about root canal treatments, the fact of the matter is that it’s not all that bad. Developments in dental technique and pain management mean that the process shouldn’t cause you the stress or discomfort many people claim it does.
So, what are the facts about root canal treatment?
Today, we’re going to talk about what causes an infected root canal, and let you know what you can expect from this treatment.
What Is a Root Canal?
Inside every tooth, there is an area that’s filled with dental pulp. This living portion of your tooth contains connective tissues, blood vessels, and nerves. The pulp can be found beneath the layers of enamel and dentin and also extends down into the roots, via the root canal.
The purpose of the dental pulp is to create dentin and keep your teeth healthy. The nerves in the pulp help to protect your tooth by alerting you of any damage as well as changes in pressure or temperature.
Tooth decay, caused by bacteria in your mouth, will damage the outer layers of your teeth. As the acid penetrates the surface of the tooth, it exposes the inside of the tooth to bacteria and places the pulp at a greater risk of infection.
How Do I Know If I Need Root Canal Treatment?
There are several signs that you need root canal treatment. The early symptoms include:
- Pain while chewing or biting
- Pain and sensitivity while eating or drinking anything that’s either hot or cold
As the dental pulp dies, these symptoms may subside. Your toothache may go away temporarily; however, it will actually be spreading to the root canal. Your previous symptoms will return and be joined by:
- Swelling in the gums beneath the infected tooth
- Pus coming from the infected tooth
- The tooth will become darker
- Swelling of the jaw or cheek
Any toothache is a sign of dental infection. Dental pulp infections never heal on their own, so it’s essential to visit us early so we can work to save the tooth. Regular checkups will help us identify the early signs of decay, so we can reverse any damage or fill any cavities before the pulp is infected.
What Happens If an Infected Root Canal Is Not Treated?
Untreated, the infected dental pulp will create a build-up of pus inside your tooth. This will lead to an abscess forming. Abscesses can spread to other parts of your body. If this happens, it can be life-threatening.
Without the necessary root canal treatment, you will lose the infected tooth. If the infection is not dealt with, extraction becomes our only option.
What Is Root Canal Treatment?
Root canal treatment removes the infected dental pulp. We’ll remove this while you’re under local anaesthetic via a hole in your tooth. Once the infection has been cleared, we’ll use a gutta-percha made from a naturally occurring plastic to fill the tooth.
The length of the treatment will vary depending on how many root canals we need to clear.
Finally, we’ll close the hole we entered using a filling. We may also recommend that we place a crown at a later date to protect the tooth from further damage.
Does Root Canal Treatment Hurt?
One of the tell-tale signs that you need root canal treatment is that you’ll experience a considerable amount of pain around the infected tooth. This pain won’t go away without treatment.
While there may be some anxiety associated with your root canal treatment, we’ll make sure you don’t feel any pain during the treatment itself. To do this, we’ll use a local anaesthetic.
After the procedure, you may experience some pain; however, this can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medication.
General Dentistry at Define Clinic
At Define Clinic, we may be experts in making your smile look amazing; but we’re also here for your general oral health. Booking regular checkups is essential when it comes to preventing tooth decay and infection.
If you’re experiencing a toothache or any of the signs of infection, talk to our helpful team and book an appointment as soon as possible.