Nothing beats the feel, look, and function of your natural tooth. However, tooth decay, injury, or infection can damage your teeth. Fortunately, with progressive technology advancements in dental care, a root canal procedure will repair or save your teeth.
Root canal treatment relieves toothache resulting from an infection or inflammation in the pulp of your tooth. Additionally, a root canal allows you to maintain your healthy, natural teeth, unlike tooth extraction, which leads to more treatments and procedures.
What is a root canal procedure
A root canal is an endodontic treatment that is used to repair and save your teeth. A canal procedure restores and repairs severely damaged or infected teeth. It involves removing a tooth’s pulp, cleaning, disinfecting, and then filling and sealing it. Typically, the pulp is found inside your teeth below the enamel and dentin and consists of blood vessels and nerves.
What are the signs that you need a root canal procedure
Typically, a root canal becomes necessary when the soft tissue inside your root canal is infected or inflamed. Generally, inflammation, irritation, and infection in the pulp result from deep cavities, large fillings, repeated dental procedures on a tooth, a crack, or chip and trauma to the face. However, these dental problems are usually accompanied by a few symptoms.
- Severe toothache or discomfort while chewing or biting
- A cracked or chipped tooth
- Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- Tender and swollen gums
- Deep decay
- Discolouration or darkening of the infected tooth
- Recurrent pimple on the gums
What should you expect during a root canal procedure?
Commonly, endodontic therapy can be performed in one or two dental visits and involves the following procedure.
- During the first step, the dentist or endodontist examines your teeth. Additionally, he or she takes an X-ray to see the shape of the root canals and determine if there are signs of infection.
- After, the dentist administers local anesthesia to numb the surrounding area of your tooth.
- Once it’s numb, the dentist places a dental dam, which is a small protective sheet around the area. This rubber dam isolates the tooth and keep it clean, dry and free of saliva during the treatment.
- Next, your dentist creates an opening or an access hole in the crown of your tooth. After this, he or she removes the pulp by cleaning and shapes the root canal system using small dental instruments.
- Afterward, the root canal is filled and sealed with a rubber-like compound called gutta-percha.
- Next, the access hole is covered with either permanent or temporary filling.
- During your final root canal visit, your dentist places a crown or other restoration on your tooth to protect and restore its full function.
Why is your pulp removed during a root canal procedure
When there’s damage to the pulp, it breaks down, and bacteria begin to form within the pulp chamber. The build-up of bacteria leads to an infection or abscess tooth. An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms at the end of your tooth’s root. Without treatment, an infection in the root canal system can lead to other symptoms.
- There is swelling in other areas of your face, neck, and head.
- You experience bone loss in the area surrounding the tip of the root.
- There are drainage issues that extend outward from the root. This can be a hole that occurs on the side of your tooth and drains into the gums or through your cheeks.
What should you expect immediately after the procedure
A restored tooth functions just like your natural teeth. However, after the treatment, your tooth may experience uneven bite, sensitivity, inflammation, or swelling. These symptoms usually subside within a week or two after the procedure. Nonetheless, regular dental visits are essential. Additionally, here are a few more tips to care for your teeth.
- Avoid hard foods. Your diet should consist of soft foods that require minimal chewing, such as yogurt, eggs, and fish.
- Commit yourself to good oral hygiene. Brush and floss your teeth at least twice daily to prevent future dental problems.
- To reduce the discomfort, ask your dentist for painkillers.
- Although your tooth is restored, it is still susceptible to other types of damage. Yet you can maintain proper oral health to ensure your teeth last a lifetime.
Is there an alternative to a root canal procedure?
According to the American Association of Endodontists, it’s better to maintain your natural teeth whenever possible. Yet, an alternative to a root canal would be tooth extraction. The extracted tooth can then be replaced with a bridge, implant, or dentures to prevent adjacent teeth from shifting.
Not only are these alternatives more expensive, yet they also require additional procedures to prepare the supporting gum tissue and neighbouring teeth. Moreover, you may experience fever, swelling or severe irritation following tooth extraction. As a result, most dentists recommend tooth extraction as a last resort type of procedure.
How much does a root canal cost?
The cost of a root canal ranges between $ 300 to $ 2000. Although this price may differ depending on the following factors.
- Severity of the problem
- Location of the tooth affected
- Type of treatment (first-time treatment or retreatment)
- Type of restoration (crown or filling)
Most dental insurance policies cover root canal therapy. Visit your nearest London dentist today before your case gets worse.