Everything You Need to Know About Root Canal
You might have come across the term ‘root canal’ related to your teeth and gums. It is a common procedure performed by dentists when the nerve inside the tooth gets infected and cannot be treated with antibiotics. However, the mere mention of a root canal can form creases on your forehead thinking about the associated pain. So, does a root canal procedure prescribed by your dentist, such as a Northcote dentist on High Street, cause pain? Let us find out in the below-mentioned segment. What is a root canal procedure? The root canal is a dental procedure to save a damaged or decayed tooth. It ensures the existing tooth is saved rather than extracted. To understand the root canal procedure better, you need to understand the anatomy of the tooth. Remember, the tooth comprises many components with the root and the crown being the major ones. The crown is the visible part of your teeth while the root lies below the gums and jaw bone. Just beneath the crown is the pulp chamber, which connects to the root canal. The root canal contains a dental pulp with blood vessels and nerves connecting to the root tip. In case the pulp chamber gets infected, your dentist, say from Northcote Dental, may recommend a root canal treatment. During the procedure, the dentist removes the dental pulp in the root canal to clear the infected or inflamed areas. The best part of having a root canal is that you can preserve your natural tooth and get relief from pain or discomfort. Generally, a root canal treatment is provided by an endodontist. But even a general dentist with experience and expertise can perform this procedure. Endodontists are dental specialists who perform procedures that deal with the interior of the teeth. Irrespective of who performs the root canal, the first step is always visiting a general dentist, say at a Northcote dental clinic. The general dentist will make a preliminary diagnosis and then, depending on the nature and severity of the ailment, will direct you to a specialist. Symptoms to carry out a root canal procedure There are a few common symptoms for which patients may be recommended a root canal procedure. These include: l Persistent sensitivity to hold and cold temperatures l Intense pain while chewing food l Cracked or chipped tooth l Inflammed or tender gums l Decaying of the tooth In case you notice any of the above symptoms, it is better to visit a dental professional, such as a Northcote Dentist High Street, soon and seek consultation. However, if the visit is delayed, the damage can become irreversible and the treatment more complex and costly. In the event of a trauma, say while playing contact sports, the tooth may become infected. Is a root canal treatment painful? It is a common misconception that a root canal is a painful treatment procedure. Any such procedure is always preceded by numbing the area with local anesthesia. This makes you oblivious to the pain that is associated with the surgical intervention. Also, once the procedure is over, the patient may experience some pain or discomfort as the effect of the anesthesia wears off. However, this goes away in a few days leaving the patient to enjoy a pain-free life. Why have a root canal in the first place? If your natural tooth has become infected, inflamed, decayed, sensitive, or cracked, then a root canal can be the best treatment to save your tooth. If not treated, then the infection can spread to other teeth leaving the dentist to extract them as a last resort. So, it is advisable to listen to the recommendation of your dentist, say from a Northcote Family Dental clinic, and avoid losing your tooth. The actual procedure A root canal procedure can be done in 1 - 2 sittings in a majority of cases. The procedure involves reaching the inside of the infected tooth, removing the damaged pulp, filling the root canal, and crowning the tooth. Let us discuss the same in some detail: #1. Preparation and applying a local anesthetic: The first step involves preparing the tooth for the root canal by applying an anesthetic solution. This numbs the area to be operated on and prevents you from feeling any pain. The dentist, say from the best dental clinic in Northcote, then places a dental dam to isolate the tooth to be operated on. The dental dam covers the surrounding teeth that do not need to be treated. # Clearing the root canal area: The dentist makes a small hole into the infected tooth to access the root canal and pulp chamber. Thereafter, these areas are cleared of infected or decayed stuff using specialized instruments. After cleaning the infected areas, they are disinfected to prevent the recurrence of infection using antibacterial solutions. The application of such solutions removes any traces of infection-causing bacteria. #3. Filling the canals: Post cleaning, the root canal is adequately shaped to place the sealant for filling. Thereafter, a rubber-like material is placed into the canal after heating and compressing it. The material should cover the entire canal area leaving no space for the bacterial colonies to enter. After the filling is done, the area is sealed using adhesive cement. This blocks any ingress of the bacteria. #4. Filling the access point: Once the dentist, say from the Northcote Dental clinic, completes the filling of the operated tooth, the access point is filled as well. The access point is the area that was drilled in the initial stages to reach the root canal. The filling to close the access point may be permanent or temporary depending on the treatment protocol. #5 Place the crown: Once the filling is done, the dentist may place a crown on the treated tooth. This helps protect the area and adds strength to the treated tooth. Restrictions to follow post root canal Immediately after the root canal treatment, the mouth continues to remain numb due to the effect of the anesthesia. Till such time the anesthesia is there, the patient should avoid drinking hot stuff such as coffee or chewing food. This is to prevent the patient from biting too hard or burning the mouth as he or she won’t feel anything. However, once the effect of the anesthesia is over, the patient can return to his or her normal routine. Still, it is better to avoid the following things as the strength of the treated tooth is never going to be the same as a natural tooth: l Eating or biting hard stuff like nuts, candies, ice, etc l Sticky chocolates or candies l Chewable food like steaks Conclusion The root canal is arguably the best dental procedure to save your natural but decayed, infected, or cracked tooth. Once the procedure is over, you can revert to the routine of brushing and flossing. Finally, make it a point to visit your dentist, at any emergency dental clinic in Northcote, periodically.