A root canal therapy is a procedure used to save an infected tooth where decay and bacteria have reached the nerve chamber of the tooth. While root canal procedures are considered safe and effective, patients may experience some pain or discomfort post-treatment.
Before Your Root Canal
Before your root canal, your dentist will likely take new X-rays to make sure that they know what to expect for the root canal. Your dentist will also take a close look at the area before starting the procedure, and you will have already been asked to confirm your medical history to make sure that you’re a suitable candidate for a root canal.
- Before the root canal therapy begins, your dentist will numb the area with a local anaesthetic that numbs the tooth and surrounding gum.
- The numbness may take a few minutes to take full effect.
- If you feel anything during the treatment, be sure to let your dentist know so they can inject more anesthetic.
Your dentist will also insert a small rubber sheet (called a rubber dam) over the tooth. This lets your dentist isolate the tooth being treated and help keep the area dry.
During Your Root Canal
Most root canal therapy appointments are 60-90 minutes in length. If the tooth has large amounts of decay or infection, it may take a little longer. Often your dentist will complete the root canal therapy over two or three visits, especially if the infection is severe or there are multiple canals in the tooth.
- Once the tooth is numb, your dentist will use a drill to remove all the decay and make an opening in the top of your tooth so that they can see the tooth’s nerve chamber (pulp) of the tooth.
- The dentist will then clean out the infected nerve chamber and canals of the tooth.
- Next, your dentist carefully cleans and shapes the canals to remove the infection from inside the tooth.
- The dentist will dry the inside of your tooth and fill it with antibacterial medication to help reduce infection between appointments.
- Once the infection has reduced, the dentist will fill the root canals with a rubber-like material that seals the roots and prevents infection from getting back into the tooth.
- Your dentist will then fit a filling over the tooth to protect it from damage.
- Root canal treated teeth will, in most cases, require a crown to be fitted a few weeks after the canals are sealed to protect the tooth from fracturing.
Your dentist will give you specific aftercare instructions, with specifics on eating, drinking, and pain management.
After Your Root Canal
While a root canal procedure is a safe and effective way to save your tooth, you still do need to take special care in the days immediately following your treatment.
- Be careful while you are numb from the local anesthetic, as you could bite your tongue or cheek and not feel it.
- Your gum and mouth may feel uncomfortable, and you may experience some post-operative pain.
- In most cases, you can manage your pain with ibuprofen or paracetamol as directed by your dentist.
- If the infection was severe, your dentist might also prescribe antibiotics.
- If standard pain management isn’t doing enough to mitigate the discomfort or if the swelling continues to be a problem, reach out to your dentist.
Once completed, your tooth should be returned to a fully functional state. With the procedure completed, you should still practice proper dental hygiene for this tooth, just as you would with any of your other teeth, as it is still at risk of decay in the future if not kept clean.
Are you considering a root canal? Act now to learn more about how we can help you achieve the best possible outcome with your root canal procedure.
Contact Beaches Dental today by calling us at (02) 9997 8822!