You may be familiar with the term root canal, or you may know someone who has undergone this procedure. However, if you require a root canal yourself, it’s normal to be feeling a little hesitant. But have no fear, this complete guide to root canals will provide you with all the information you need to walk into your procedure fully informed.
What is a root canal?
A root canal can refer to two different things. Root canal refers to the passages inside of the tooth between the root of the tooth and the pulp. Additionally, a root canal is the dental procedure that removes the infected material from the root canal and is aimed to help relieve any pain there. Within these canals in your teeth, there are networks of nerves and blood vessels — the nerves inside each adult tooth work to sensory stimuli such as heat and cold. If an infection or tooth decay is occurring in the pulp portion of the tooth, treatment may involve removal of the nerve from within the infected tooth altogether.
Root Canal: Warning Signs
Sometimes, a little pain in your teeth is normal and doesn’t warrant a cause for worry. However, if the signs and symptoms become severe, they should be checked and may be an indication that a root canal is required. These signs include:
- Severe pain in your teeth when you apply any kind of pressure while eating, for example, and experience a strong discomfort.
- Sensitive teeth. It is normal to experience a tingling reaction in your teeth to hot or cold stimuli. However, if any pain or sensitivity to hot or cold food or drinks remains even after the stimulus has been removed, then it can be a sign that a root canal is required.
- The appearance of a small bump on your gums near the area in which you feel the tooth pain.
- Swelling or tender gums near the area of the tooth pain.
- Darkening or discolouration of the tooth.
What causes pain in a root canal?
Pain in your root canal can be caused by a number of different reasons, which could include:
- Damaged teeth. If you have cracked or chipped teeth, these can become areas of bacteria buildup and eventual tooth decay, and cause pain in your root canal.
- Tooth decay. When the outer layers of your teeth begin to decay, it can cause pain in your root canal.
- Disease. The pulp of your tooth can become infected if your tooth is decaying, or has experienced some trauma, and a root canal may be recommended to remove the infection.
Step-by-Step Guide to Performing a Root Canal
A root canal is performed to help relieve the pain in the passages within your teeth caused by infection of the tooth pulp and its accompanying nerves. In order to prevent any future infections, once the infected material is removed, the tooth is sealed. It may seem like a frightening procedure at first, but a simple step-by-step procedure will help break down the treatment.
- In order to determine the extent of the infection within your tooth, an x-ray will be taken.
- To ensure that you won’t experience any pain during the procedure, you will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area to be worked on.
- In order to keep the area around your infected tooth dry, a rubber dam will be placed around it.
- The actual removal of the infection requires the drilling of a small access hole into the tooth. This access hole will allow the dentist to remove the damaged pulp of the tooth using special tools.
- The access hole is then sealed after the infected material is removed. First, a rubber compound is placed inside of the root canal in place of the infected material. The access hole is then closed using a filling. In some cases, your tooth may be left open in case any additional materials continue to drain out of your tooth. Once everything is drained, the tooth is filled and sealed.
What happens after I get a root canal?
You’re not entirely off the hook once your root canal is complete. Within a week of undergoing a root canal, you will be fitted with a crown, which is a tooth-shaped cap placed on the tooth to help restore its shape and size and help protect the tooth from any future pain. It is normal to feel some pain after you have had a root canal. In order to avoid any further damage, follow all instructions provided by your dental professional and follow a good cleaning routine to help maintain your crown and teeth.
What is the cost of a root canal?
Since a root canal procedure removes the infected material from within the canals of your teeth, it is relatively cheaper than the removal of the tooth or replacement of the tooth with a dental implant. This cost can vary depending on the amount of work required or the extent of the infection within the tooth. Your dental insurance may also be able to shoulder some of the cost of the procedure. We recommend discussing your options with your dentist.
Pain in your teeth can be a warning sign of a problem. If you are experiencing continuous pain in your teeth, it may be a sign that you need a root canal. Root canals can help relieve the pain caused by an infection within the pulp tissue of your teeth and have a 95% success rate. Many teeth that have undergone a root canal remain unharmed for the rest of your life. However, as they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” To avoid any pain or the need for any root canals, always remember to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing your teeth daily. Seeing a dental professional for regular check-ups can also help detect any problems and allow them to check the condition of your root canal if you’ve had one.
If you are experiencing pain in your teeth, don’t wait around and continue to suffer. Call Bristol Dental Clinic at 905-712-3409 to book an appointment today or click here to learn more about our services.