Do I Need Root Canal Treatment?
What Is A Root Canal Treatment?
A root canal treatment (also known as an endodontic treatment) is a dental treatment used to save a tooth that is infected or severely decayed.
The treatment involves removing the infected or damaged pulp from the inside of the tooth, cleaning and disinfecting the root canals, and then filling and sealing them. Let’s first understand how your teeth work before diving into root canal treatment and how it can help save your smile!
Your Tooth Structure
Our teeth have a structure that consists of different layers and components. Here is a simple overview of the basic structure of your tooth:
This is the outermost layer of your tooth and the hardest substance in your human body. Enamel is composed mainly of calcium phosphate minerals. It provides strength and protects the underlying layers of the tooth.
Underneath the enamel is the dentin, which is the hard tissue that forms the bulk of your tooth structure. Dentin provides support and protection even though it’s much softer than enamel.
The pulp is the inner part of the tooth and is located in the hollow centre called the pulp chamber. It consists of soft connective tissue, blood vessels, nerves and cells. The pulp provides nourishment to the tooth during its development. Root canal treatment is generally reserved for severe or neglected cases of tooth decay that have reached your pulp.
A layer of hard tissue that covers the root of the tooth. It helps anchor the tooth to the jawbone through fibres called periodontal ligaments.
Inside the root of the tooth is the root canal, which contains the pulp tissue. The root canal extends from the pulp chamber to the tip of the tooth root and contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue.
Signs You Need A Root Canal Treatment
Here are some common signs and symptoms that may indicate the need for a root canal treatment:
- Persistent toothache – Pain when chewing or applying pressure to the tooth, can be a sign of an infected or damaged pulp.
- Sensitivity to hot or cold – Increased sensitivity to hot/cold temperatures can indicate nerve damage or infection.
- Gum swelling and tenderness – Swelling and tenderness along the gums surrounding a specific tooth may be due to an infection or inflammation in the root canal.
- Discolouration of the tooth – A darkening or discolouration of the tooth may indicate that the pulp inside is damaged or dead.
- Persistent bad breath or an unpleasant taste – An infection or abscess in the tooth can cause persistent bad breath or a foul taste in the mouth.
- Gum abscess – A pimple-like swelling or small bump on the gums near the affected tooth may indicate an abscess. It is a collection of pus because of an infection.
- Prolonged sensitivity to pressure – If you experience discomfort or pain when biting or applying pressure to a tooth, even after the pressure is released, it may indicate the need for a root canal.
Benefits Of Root Canal Treatment
Here are some of the key benefits of a root canal:
One of the main benefits of a root canal is the alleviation of pain. Root canal treatment removes the infected or damaged pulp, and most infections that have reached this stage are extremely painful. By addressing the underlying issue, root canal treatment can provide significant pain relief.
Preservation of natural tooth
Root canal treatment allows for the preservation of your natural tooth. Preserving your natural tooth has several advantages over tooth extraction as your natural teeth are always better and stronger than artificial solutions. It also allows you to maintain proper chewing function and the alignment of surrounding teeth.
Prevention of further infection
Removing the infected pulp and disinfecting the root canals prevents the infection from spreading to the surrounding tissues and other teeth, which helps to protect your overall oral health.
Improved oral health
Root canal treatment helps maintain the integrity of your tooth. It prevents the progression of dental problems and reduces the risk of complications that could arise from untreated infections, such as gum disease or jaw bone deterioration, which are problematic conditions that eventually lead to your teeth falling out!
Restoration of normal chewing and biting
When a tooth is infected or damaged, it can affect your ability to chew and bite properly. By eliminating the infection and restoring the tooth’s structure with a crown or other restoration, a root canal helps you to regain normal functionality allowing you to eat and speak comfortably.
The Root Canal Treatment Process
The root canal treatment may require more than one visit to the dentist and typically involves several steps. Here is an overview of the general process:
- Examination and diagnosis –
Our dentist will first carry out a comprehensive examination of your affected tooth, review your symptoms, and take X-rays to assess the extent of the infection or damage. We will determine if a root canal treatment is necessary based on the findings.
- Anesthesia –
Local anesthesia will be administered to numb the area around the affected tooth, ensuring your comfort throughout the treatment.
- Removing the infected or damaged pulp –
Special dental instruments will be used to carefully remove the infected pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals. The canals will be cleaned to remove any remaining debris and bacteria.
- Filling the canals –
Once the canals are thoroughly cleaned and dried, they will be filled with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha. They are placed into the canals to seal them and prevent reinfection.
- Restoration of the tooth –
Depending on the extent of the damage to the tooth, a dental crown or temporary filling may be placed on top to restore its structure, strength and appearance.
- Follow-up visits –
You will be required to schedule follow-up visits with your dentist to monitor the healing process and ensure the success of the root canal treatment.
To determine if a root canal treatment is the ideal option for you, schedule a consultation with one of our experienced dentists at Wyndham Dental. We will guide you every step of the way and make sure we help you achieve a pain-free, healthier smile!