What is root canal therapy and why is it performed?
Root canal therapy needs to be done in a tooth when the vital part of the tooth, the pulp, or also known as the nerve of the tooth is compromised. This is the option when the patient wants to keep the tooth, opposed the other option of extracting the tooth.
Root canal or endodontic treatment is the process in which a diseased, decayed or traumatized tooth is treated to restore health. If the infection is left untreated severe consequences may occur including destruction and infection of the underlying jaw bone, severe facial swelling, and possible septicaemia.
Signs to look out for when root canal therapy is required:
- Swelling and severe toothache pain in the mouth
- Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- Too painful to touch or chew
- Discoloration of the tooth
- Tenderness of the gum tissues
The procedure for root canal treatment
- X-rays of the tooth are taken and then a local anaesthetic is administered. When the tooth is numb, a small opening is made in the crown of the tooth.
- Small instruments are used to clean up the pulp and shape the space for filling.
- After the space is cleaned and shaped, the root canals are filled with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha.
- The gutta-percha is then placed with an adhesive cement to seal up the root canals completely.
Special care after the process of root canal therapy
- Try not to chew or bite on the treated tooth until full restoration has taken place.
- The treated tooth may be vulnerable and could get fractured.
- Practice good oral hygiene by brushing, flossing, and cleaning your teeth regularly.
Dr Mohamed El Hazek
At Eagle Heights Dental Care, Dr Mohamed El Hazek, is happy to discuss with you everything about root canal treatment in case this is something you require.
Before the root canal procedure begins, your dentist will administer a local anaesthetic into your gums. While you may feel a slight burning sensation or sting when the anaesthetic is injected, this will pass quickly and you won’t feel any pain during the procedure itself. After the procedure, once the anaesthetic has worn off, you may feel some discomfort and you may also notice some swelling in your gums. Your dentist will recommend over-the-counter medications to help ease any pain, which should resolve within a few days. It is important to note that your treated tooth may be vulnerable following the procedure, so we recommend that you avoid biting or chewing on it until it has healed properly.
In most cases, root canal therapy takes two appointments to complete. Each appointment typically takes around 90 minutes in total. During the first appointment, the infected pulp is usually removed from your root canals. The canals are then dried and sealed off so that they can heal. During the next appointment, your dentist will fill the root canals with a special material and permanently seal them off to prevent further infection. In some cases, a crown may be placed to protect your tooth from fractures and other damage.
Before the procedure begins, your dentist will take x-rays of your teeth. Then, you will be given a local anaesthetic so that you won’t feel any discomfort during the procedure itself. Your dentist will make a small opening in the crown of the affected tooth and use very small instruments to clean out the infected pulp. Once the space has been thoroughly cleaned, it is filled with a special material called gutta-percha in order to seal the root canal properly.