One type of dentist treatment that seems to mystify those who have never had to undergo it, is root canal treatment. Because they normally hear of dental issues that refer to only teeth and gums, when root canal enters the discussion many people are unaware of what a root canal is, let alone what the treatment for it might be. So, in this article, we are going to outline the most important facts you should know about root canal treatment.
What Is A Root Canal?
To explain what a root canal is, it helps if we consider the structure of your tooth. It consists of the crown, which is the part you see. The part you cannot see which is beneath your gum and connected to your jaw bone is the root of your tooth. The interior of your tooth contains soft tissue which is called dental pulp. Dental pulp contains soft tissue, nerves, and blood vessels.
This dental pulp is essential for the growth and development of teeth but once they are fully grown the pulp is effectively redundant, although it still exists within the tooth. The pulp moves from the top of the crown to the end of the root, and it is one or more root canals that it uses for that movement.
Why Is Root Canal Treatment Needed?
Root canal treatment can become necessary if the dental pulp inside your tooth becomes infected. If it does, the bacterial infection can generate several issues and the symptoms you may experience include:
- Extreme pain when you bite or chew
- Extreme sensitivity to hot or cold food and drink
- Loose tooth
What can happens is the pulp dies due to the infection, and you may have a period with no symptoms and thus assume the problem is resolved. Unfortunately, it is not, because the infection still exists and spreads into the tooth’s root canal system. When it does, in addition to the previous symptoms, you may experience the symptoms below:
- Swollen gums around the tooth
- The appearance of pus coming from the tooth
- Facial swelling
- The tooth becoming discoloured.
What Does Root Canal Treatment Involve?
There are eight stages to root canal treatment as follows:
#1 – Gums adjacent to the affected tooth are numbed using local anastatic
#2 – A dental dam is positioned in your mouth to isolate the tooth needing the treatment
#3 – Dentist will drill the tooth to gain access to the dental pulp
#4 – Dentist will remove the dental pulp along with all the infected tissue from the tooth
#5 – Your tooth is flushed with an antibacterial solution to disinfect it
#6 – The depth of your tooth is measured to establish the amount of root canal filling required
#7 – Tooth is filled with root canal filling and sealed using dental cement
#8 – A temporary filling is placed in the opening
What Happens After Root Canal Treatment?
Following your root canal treatment, you may feel some discomfort, but you will also notice that the excruciating pain you had before has been alleviated. Your dentist will prescribe you an antibiotic to ward off any risk of infection recurring and painkillers if you still need them. You should avoid biting on anything hard or especially chewy in the meantime until your dentist arranges another appointment to make the temporary filling permanent or to seal your tooth with a crown.