Root Canal Treatments: Know the Steps Involved
At Iqaluit Dental Clinic, we understand why many people fear root canal treatment and want to know exactly what the procedure involves. Root canal therapy is required when oral bacteria infect the pulp inside your teeth through a deep cavity and cause severe pain. This usually happens when tooth decay or cavity is left untreated for a long time.
Root canal treatment is one of the most common endodontic treatments and can allow you to enjoy immediate relief following treatment. It might sting a bit during the procedure, but you won’t feel any pain due to the application of anaesthesia. Generally, it can take between 30 to 60 minutes to complete a session. However, depending on the severity of the damage done to your teeth, you might have to go through multiple appointments. Now, let’s look at the steps involved in root canal treatment and other important information that you need to know before you opt for the procedure.
The steps involved in root canal treatment
1. The infected pulp is diagnosed – The first step is to understand the extent of the infection and the damage caused to the teeth. Usually, the dentist will take a few X-rays and use advanced digital imaging technology to observe the inflammation and tooth decay.
They might also perform sensitivity tests to see how much your teeth hurts when the biting surface comes into contact with heat, cold, or sweet stimuli. Once it is confirmed that the infected tooth requires root canal treatment, the following steps are performed.
2. Anaesthesia is applied, and the area is prepared – Next, the dentist will use a needle to apply local anaesthesia to numb the infected tooth and the surrounding gum tissues. If you suffer from dental anxiety, the dentist might use other medications such as oral sedatives, nitrous oxide, or intravenous (IV) sedation.
Once the tooth and the surrounding regions are numbed properly, they will place a small sheet of rubber-like material known as a dental dam to separate the infected tooth and keep it dry during the procedure.
3. The infected pulp is removed – After that, the dentist will drill a hole on the top of your teeth that will allow them to access the infected pulp chamber and the root inside the teeth. Using small dental tools (dental files of varying diameters), they will remove the infected pulp which consists of blood vessels, nerves, and tissues and shape the canal.
The dentist will then apply an antibacterial and antiseptic solution to thoroughly clean and disinfect the inside of the teeth to eliminate any bacteria. To clean any leftover bacteria, they might use water or sodium hypochlorite
4. The canals are filled – Following the removal of the pulp and the disinfection of the root canal, the dentist will use gutta-percha (flexible, rubber-like material) to fill the canals after they dry. This is only a temporary dental filling.
The gutta-percha is heated and compressed to fit snugly against the walls of the teeth. Next, an adhesive cement is applied to it to seal the canal properly and keep bacteria away.
5. The tooth is restored – To permanently treat the teeth and restore your bite, the teeth will require a dental crown. Dental crowns are custom-made to fit your teeth and they require a few weeks to be fabricated.
So, you have to visit the dentist again once the fabrication of the dental crown is completed. Your dentist will remove the temporary dental filling and put the crown over the treated tooth to restore the teeth permanently. This will make the treated teeth as strong as it was before being infected.
How long does root canal recovery take?
Generally, root canal recovery doesn’t take long. Any mild discomfort or pain should be gone after a few days, and you should feel completely normal after a week or two. If you suffered from a severe tooth infection, your dentist might prescribe you antibiotics to kill the rest of the infection.
It is recommended you brush and floss as usual and uses an antibacterial mouthwash to keep the treated tooth clean and help it recover quickly. Also, avoid chewing with the treated tooth until you have the permanent crown in place.
What to expect after root canal treatment?
It is common to experience slight tooth sensitivity after root canal treatment for a few days following the procedure. Generally, these are easily handled with OTC pain relievers, and you should start to feel normal again after a week or two at the most.
However, you should inform your dentist if you experience severe pain, sinus problems, swollen gums, pus or drainage and other symptoms since it indicates that the root canal treatment has failed. Your dentist will examine the tooth again and determine what needs to be done to fix the problem.
How should you prepare for root canal treatment?
Generally, it is recommended you follow the guidelines recommended by your dentist to prepare for the root canal treatment and reduce the risk of any complications. Here are the best practices that you can follow before the root canal treatment:
1. Take any medications as prescribed to you by the dentist – Your dentist might prescribe you anti-inflammatory and antibiotics medication to deal with the toothache and reduce the infection before the date of the root canal treatment. Thus, ensure you take your medicines as prescribed.
2. Eat a healthy meal before the treatment session – After the root canal treatment is completed, you would not be able to consume any food for a while due to the effect of the local anaesthesia. Thus, it makes sense to eat some food a few hours before the session.
3. Avoid smoking – It is recommended you avoid smoking for a few days leading up to the day of the root canal treatment since tobacco products lower the effectiveness of your body’s ability to heal itself. It is better if you can stop smoking permanently.
At Iqaluit Dental Clinic, we believe you should not delay root canal treatment if you suffer from a severe tooth infection to prevent further damage to the teeth and the gum. The symptoms of tooth infection include constant toothache, swollen gums, sensitivity to heat and cold, pain when pressure is applied, and more.