At times bacteria enters the tooth’s pulp and causes an infection. When this happens, root canal treatment is required to save the tooth. Root canal treatment is a dental procedure that alleviates pain caused by an abscessed or infected tooth. During the process, the infected pulp is taken out and the tooth is sealed to avoid reinfection. The surfaces under the tooth are then disinfected and cleaned, and a filling is put to seal the area.

When do you need a root canal?

Root canal treatment is required when oral bacteria enter the pulp in the interior of your tooth. This often happens when a cavity is not treated for a long time. It can also happen if your tooth becomes damaged or cracked due to trauma.

What Are Some Signs That You May Need Root Canal treatment?

In a few cases, you may not be aware that you have an infected tooth. However, a lot of people observe certain symptoms. Symptoms that indicate you need a root canal include:

  • Tooth pain that doesn’t recede: Numerous dental issues can cause tooth pain. If you experience pain deep in your tooth, you may need root canal treatment. Discomfort may also spread to your face, jaw, or other teeth.
  • Sensitivity to heat and cold: If your tooth hurts when you drink and eat something hot or cold, it could be a sign that you need root canal therapy. This is especially correct if the pain remains for more than a few seconds.
  • Swollen gums: When your tooth is infected, pus can gather in the area. This can result in swollen, puffy, or tender gums.
  • Pimple on the gums: You may develop a boil or pimple on the gums. Pus from the infected tooth can drain from the pimple, causing a displeasing smell or taste.
  • Swollen jaw: At times pus doesn’t drain from the area. Therefore, your jaw may become distinctly swollen.
  • Tooth discoloration: When the tooth’s pulp becomes infected, it makes your tooth look darker. This happens due to poor blood supply to the tooth.
  • Pain when pressure is applied: If you have pain when you touch your tooth or eat, it could mean the nerves near the pulp are harmed.
  • A cracked or chipped tooth: If you have cracked a tooth in an accident, when biting something hard or playing sports, bacteria can easily get into the tooth pulp.
  • Loose tooth: You may feel an infected tooth a little looser. It is because the pus from the infected pulp has the potential to soften the bone that supports the tooth.

What happens during the root canal process?

Before starting your root canal treatment, your dentist will have dental X-rays performed on the damaged tooth. This helps find out the degree of damage and ensures that root canal therapy is the proper treatment option. Below are the steps that you can expect during your root canal procedure:

  1. Anaesthesia. First, local anaesthesia is given to numb the surrounding gums and infected tooth. There are also medications used in dentistry to help you relax, like nitrous oxide, intravenous (IV) sedation or oral sedatives. Your dentist may suggest sedation if you have the problem of dental anxiety.
  1. Dental dam placement. Before starting root canal treatment, a small rubber dam is kept over the area. It isolates the tooth and helps to keep it dry during the procedure.
  1. Access hole. Next, a small opening is made in the tooth’s crown to access the pulp.
  1. Pulp removal. Small dental instruments are used to take out the blood vessels, tissues, and nerves inside the tooth.
  1. Shaping the canals. After the pulp is removed, the root canals and pulp chamber are disinfected, cleaned, and shaped.
  1. Filling the canals. The vacant canals are then filled with a rubbery, flexible dental material called gutta-percha.
  1. Sealing the tooth. Next, a temporary dental filling is applied to seal the tooth and prevent bacteria from re-invading.
  1. Placing the final restoration. In the majority of cases, you’ll require a dental crown to shield the treated tooth and improve your bite. Crowns are customised, and fabrication often takes two to three weeks. After your crown is ready, the temporary filling is taken out and the permanent crown is positioned. In some cases, you can receive a crown at the time of the same appointment.

How long does a root canal take?

Based on the degree of infection in your tooth, you may need one or two appointments for your root canal treatment. A root canal takes around half to one hour to finish on average. If your treatment is done on a bigger tooth with multiple roots, it can take up to 90 minutes.

We provide safe and pain-free treatment at King Street Dental, contact us today to book an appointment with us.