Root Canal Treatments – Your Comprehensive Guide

For many people, the word “root canal treatment” is synonymous with pain and discomfort. But, this is actually not true. Every day, dentists perform thousands of root canal procedures globally and save millions of teeth from extraction each year. If your dentist has recommended a root canal procedure for one of your teeth, you might be wondering what this procedure actually is, whether it is safe, when it is needed. Continue reading to find everything you need to know about root canal treatment

What Is A Root Canal? 

 A root canal refers to space within the tooth roots that are filled with the dental pulp – the nervous tissue of the teeth which contains the nerves and blood vessels that nourish and innervates a tooth. Under healthy conditions, the sensitive dental pulp remains protected from the outside by outlying dentine and pulp layers, respectively. The problem begins when tooth decay, wear, or trauma destroys the outer tooth layers and exposes the underlying pulp. If this condition is not corrected timely, the pulp tissue may get irreversibly inflamed, leading to a painful condition. 

When this happens, the only option available to your dentist to save this tooth from extraction is to perform a root canal procedure. According to the American Association of Endodontists, a root canal procedure involves removing the inflamed pulp tissue followed by thorough cleansing of the root canals and then filling it with an inert material to prevent future infections.  

How Is A Root Canal Done On A Front Tooth? 

Whether it is the front or a back tooth, the steps involved in performing root canal treatment remain essentially the same. However, a fundamental difference between the front and back teeth is that the front teeth have only one root that is considerably longer. In the case of a front tooth, your dentist will first drill a hole in the tooth to expose the pulp chamber. Afterwards, they will use specialised endodontic equipment to remove the inflamed pulp tissue, followed by thoroughly washing the tooth’s interior with an antiseptic solution and then drying it. 

Dentists endodontic files to shape the tooth’s interior in a tapering fashion and then fill it with an inert material. They will then place a temporary filling on the tooth while the healing takes place inside the tooth. After a few weeks when the tooth’s interior has healed, your dentist will replace the temporary filling with a permanent one. 

Does A Root Canal Kill A Tooth? 

A root canal procedure involves removing the inflamed pulp tissue from the tooth’s interior. Since the dental pulp is responsible for innervating and nourishing the tooth. So, the tooth loses its nourishment and nerve supply following root canal treatment. This is also why teeth become brittle and weak after endodontic treatment. 

What Are The Steps Involved In A Root Canal Treatment? 

A root canal is an endodontic (endo=inside, odont=teeth) procedure that is completed in multiple steps. During your initial appointment, your dentist will perform a clinical examination of the affected tooth. They will also look at the x-ray images of the tooth to see the extent of the damage. Your dentist will drill a hole in the tooth to expose the underlying infected pulp, to relieve the pressure and pain. 

During the next appointment, your dentist will use specialised endodontic equipment to remove the infected pulp from the tooth’s interior. Afterwards, they will use antiseptic solutions or saline water to wash and clean the root canal. After the root canal has been dried, they will insert an inert rubbery material called gutta-percha to fill the tooth’s interior. This is done to prevent future chances of infection. After this, your dentist will place a temporary filling over the tooth until healing ensues. Once the tooth has healed, your dentist will replace the temporary filling with a permanent one. If required, they will also attach a crown over the restored tooth to reinforce it. 

Should I Have A Root Canal Or Extraction? 

A root canal is your dentist’s attempt to save a damaged tooth from extraction. Since no tooth-replacement option is better than your natural teeth, a root canal procedure should always be preferred over tooth extraction.  

How Long Does Root Canal Take? 

Dentists typically perform a root canal procedure in multiple sittings. The time required to complete the procedure depends on various factors,  such as the location of the tooth and the extent of infection. Generally, it requires two to three sittings for completion. However, in some cases, dentists choose to perform a root canal procedure in a single sitting. 

How Safe Is A Root Canal?

Like all other dental procedures, a root canal treatment procedure is absolutely safe, provided it is performed by a qualified and experienced dentist or endodontist. So, you can rest assured that a root canal procedure will have no effect on your oral health or physical wellbeing. 

What Is The Cause Of Biting Pain After Root Canal?

Biting pain following a root canal can occur due to two reasons. Firstly, a “high” filling which puts pressure on the tooth whenever the opposing teeth mate. Another reason for post-root canal biting pain may be accidental damage to the tooth’s tissues, called the periodontal ligament. This type of pain typically goes away as soon as the damaged tissue heals up. 

Whether you need a root canal treatment, dental fillings, or Invisalign aligners, Harrow Dental Service is at your service. So book a consultation appointment today and let us experienced and qualified dentists to take care of all your dental problems in a calm, relaxing and pain-free environment.

How to Stop Tooth Pain?

No matter what type of tooth pain you are experiencing, one thing is certain; it is one of the worst types of pain you can ever experience, more so when it pops out of nowhere on a Saturday at 2am in the morning! Good news is that there are ways you can manage most types of dental pain on your own, especially when expert dental help is not available.

Managing Dental Pain

Management of different types of dental pains involves diagnosing and treating the underlying issue. While complex issues such as injuries and infections require expert dental help, many dental problems that cause pain can be managed easily at home. There are some instances where tooth pain can result after having a dental treatment such as dental implants, or after recently having Invisalign fitted, if this is the case please speak to your dentist about this treatment.

One of the most common causes of dental pain is wisdom tooth extraction. Let us look at how we can manage wisdom tooth pain.

How to Stop Wisdom Tooth Pain?

Pain associated with a wisdom tooth can arise due to various reasons. First, it can occur if there is tooth decay, making the tooth sensitive to hot or cold foods. Secondly, wisdom tooth pain can occur due to pericoronitis, a condition in which the soft tissues around an impacted wisdom tooth get inflamed. Another painful situation can arise following the removal of a wisdom tooth.

In case you are having pain and swelling around one of your wisdom, then it may be because of pericoronitis. Management of this condition involves maintaining good oral health, taking painkillers to reduce the pain, and using icepacks to reduce the inflammation.

If the underlying cause of pain is due to inflammation then you can manage this situation with pain relievers, warm saline rinses, and icepack application around the region to minimize the inflammation. You can also apply oil of cloves around the tooth with a cotton ball to ease the pain, as it is a natural pain reliever.

Why Are My Gums Painful and Swollen?

Gums tend to become painful and appear swollen when they have underlying inflammation, a condition clinically known as gingivitis.

Clinically, gingivitis appears as swollen, reddish, and sore gums that tend to bleed easily while eating or brushing. Gingivitis can be easily managed with strict oral hygiene maintenance, and professional teeth cleaning if required.

If gingivitis is not treated timely, the inflammation can extend into the tissues that attach our gums to the teeth and the jawbone. This condition called periodontitis causes widespread destruction of the gum tissues, the bone, and the tissues supporting the teeth. As a result, the teeth become mobile if treatment is ignored for a prolonged duration.

Tooth Pain Months or Years After Root Canal

Toothache that occurs a few months or years after a root canal procedure can arise due to a variety of reasons. It may because of incomplete cleaning and disinfection of the tooth’s interior (the root canals), leaving behind bacteria that grow inside the root canals and cause future re-infection.

Another possible reason could be a missed accessory root canal – an extra root canal that is not normally found in that tooth – and is difficult to find. A missed root canal can lead to future re-infection, which is even harder to treat.

How do you Stop Toothache at Home?

When it comes to treating a toothache at home, there are several options you can utilize:

  • Pain Medication – pain-relieving medication not only helps in subsiding pain associated with a wisdom tooth or a sinus infection, but it is also helpful in reducing inflammation in the region.
  • Icepacks – icepacks help minimize inflammation and swelling at the site of the infection.
  • Natural Remedy – one of the best home remedies for stopping wisdom toothache is clove oil. Place a drop of clove oil on a cotton ball and apply it around the infected tooth. You will feel a significant reduction in your pain within 20 minutes of application of this home remedy.

Throbbing Tooth Pain That Comes and Goes, what is The Cause?

If you are having transient, throbbing pain in one of your teeth, it may be a sign of an underlying tooth abscess. An abscess refers to the collection of pus around infected teeth and gums. During the initial stages, the pain of an abscessed tooth can be managed with painkillers. However, in its advanced stages, the pain becomes unbearable, and the only option is to seek expert help immediately. An untreated abscess around the upper molar teeth can also lead to a sinus infection.

While the methods mentioned above are effective relieving wisdom tooth pain, these provide only temporary relief. Once your pain starts to subside, and you feel better, you must immediately book an appointment with your dentist so that the underlying cause of the pain can be diagnosed and treated accordingly.