Nothing lasts forever, not even our teeth. There are instances wherein a damaged tooth can progress so badly that it becomes infected. This infection can impair the pulp of the tooth where a network of nerves and blood vessels can be found. If you don’t act, the infection will spread to the bone surrounding the tooth, resulting in pain and swelling. The only way to relieve this agony is to perform a root canal treatment or an endodontic treatment.
Often, the term “root canal” conjures up very negative connotations. However, the skills and experience of the oral health professionals here at Aquario Dental will do our best to make the entire procedure relatively painless.
Overview of Root Canal Treatment
A root canal treatment is performed to preserve what’s left of your dead tooth. Think of your tooth as an ancient Egyptian and the treatment as mummification. The dentist will not bring your tooth back to life, but instead preserve it. The moment a dentist recommends a root canal treatment, it is already too late to salvage the infected tooth.
If the dental X-ray reveals that the pulp has been infected, it is only then that a root canal treatment will be needed. Your endodontist will remove the pulp, and then clean and seal the pulp chamber and the root canal. When left untreated, the bacteria will proliferate and spread throughout the root canal system. This will result to severe pain, fever, swelling in the face and neck, and even blood poisoning.
Root Canal Treatment versus Extractions and Implants
If there’s an infection and you just shrugged it off, your tooth will eventually become wobbly and may need extraction. There are patients who would rather have their tooth taken out instead of undergoing a root canal treatment. Usually, this happens in cases where the patient is in so much pain and the tooth can no longer be mended. The triggering factors for this can be a periodontal and/or gum disease, trauma to the tooth and severe tooth decay.
Root Canal Treatment Procedure
On average, an endodentic procedure is performed in one or two visits to your endodontist. Here are the basics of a root canal treatment procedure:
- Preparation for the Treatment
Your tooth’s condition is assessed via X-ray. If the root canal treatment is found to be the best solution for your infected tooth, the endodontist will schedule you for the procedure. Then, the treatment is performed under a local anesthetic to prevent you from feeling the pain throughout the procedure. There are cases where a local anesthetic is not needed, as the tooth has already given out and has become impervious to external stimuli.
The premise of a root canal treatment is pretty much about removing the infected pulp. The affected tooth will be cleaned and the root canal will be filled with a rubber-like substance. If the tooth at issue has at least two root canals, the treatment will be longer – as expected. This may require several dental visits. A medication will be daubed on the cleaned root canal to kill the surviving bacteria. The tooth will then be sealed with a temporary filling.
On your next visit, the dentist will remove the temporary filling and the medication, and crown your tooth. A crown is like a blanket that will cover your real tooth. This will prevent the tooth from fracturing or cracking.
Stay away from the hard foods until the entire treatment has concluded. After the final step, your tooth will be sensitive for a couple of days. Your dentist will prescribe painkillers to reduce the discomfort that you will be feeling.
All in all, a root canal treatment can be avoided through good oral hygiene, giving a wide berth to sugary foods, and desisting from smoking. However, if you are in need of a root canal, Aquario Dental can guide you through the process.