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Dental Health

Root Canal Explained Simply

Root canal treatment has a reputation for being an uncomfortable and perhaps even painful procedure. But this is an outdated view of the treatment. One of the reasons that root canal treatment is thought to be painful is that it is often performed on “hot” teeth. This refers to a tooth with an active infection and inflammation.

The inflammation makes it more difficult to completely numb the tooth, so it’s more likely that you are going to experience discomfort during the procedure. However, modern approaches to anaesthetic mean that we do a much better job today of ensuring you don’t feel anything.

So, if anyone has anything bad to say about a root canal, it might be worth asking when they last had one. Chances are, it wasn’t recently, and they’re just reliving memories from a long time ago.

What is the root canal procedure for?

When an infection reaches the inner part of your tooth, you’ll be in considerable pain. This is where the tooth nerve resides, and infection near a nerve is incredibly painful. To fix this issue, you can either extract the tooth or you can save it with a root canal.

A root canal treatment cleans out the inner part of the tooth to get rid of any infected tissue. Your dentist uses small tools to clean each root canal individually before washing the tooth. It is then filled and reinforced before it is topped with a filling or a crown.

This procedure helps to save a tooth that is badly damaged by decay. It is often the last resort before an extraction is recommended.

Does a root canal hurt?

Root canal treatment has a reputation for being painful, but we don’t think it deserves this. As long as you communicate with your dentist and let them know if you are feeling any discomfort, you should be able to achieve a sufficient level of numbing so that you don’t feel pain.

After the treatment, the source of your pain will be gone, so you also shouldn't feel much discomfort. Your tooth might feel slightly more sensitive for a while, so you’ll need to avoid hot and cold food and drink.

The procedure can be quite long, particularly for larger teeth with complicated root structures. It’s important to make sure the root canals are completely clear of infected tissue, so the procedure might take a while. This could lead to some discomfort in your jaw following the treatment, but this should soon pass.

How often does a root canal fail?

This treatment is highly effective and failure rates are very low. Success rates can be as high as 98% in some cases. One of the most common reasons for root canal failure occurs when the patient doesn’t attend follow-up appointments.

If there are issues with the crown or filling, this can lead to infection returning to the tooth, and the root canal may need to be repeated. If the tooth is badly damaged, it might be time for an extraction.

When the nerve of the tooth is removed, this also removes the blood supply. Without this, the tooth will not last as long as surrounding teeth. While it’s not accurate to say that the tooth is dead, it may not be as strong as it once was after the nerve is removed.

What if I do nothing?

Doing nothing when you need a root canal treatment is not recommended. If you do nothing except take antibiotics, the infection will return time and time again. Every time it returns, it may be a little worse than last time. The infection could spread further and become life threatening.

If you do nothing, the tooth will eventually need to be extracted to protect your health. There will come a point where a root canal treatment will no longer be an option. If you would like to preserve your natural teeth, we recommend prompt treatment and regular follow up checks to ensure that the dental crown or filling is intact and protecting the remaining tooth.

If you need to arrange a root canal, get in touch with our team today to learn more. We can guide you through the process and ensure you feel confident and informed at every stage in the treatment plan.

Call us now to make an appointment

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