A root canal is one of those more serious dental treatments that you might have heard about – and one which your dentist will lonely recommend if there’s a very pressing need to save a damaged or infected tooth.
It’s fairly common, and there’s every chance that you have friends or family members who have already had the procedure carried out.
So rather than rely on hearsay, here’s the official version as to how and why they’re varied out.
As mentioned, it tends to be a treatment of last resort. Your dentist will only recommend it if a tooth has become very badly infected or inflamed. A third possibility for root canal treatment is if you’ve cracked or damaged a tooth in an accident – maybe a clash on the football field, for example.
Treating excessive wear
A further reason why a root canal may be recommended is when excessive wear has taken place on the enamel of your teeth – possibly because of advancing age. The net effect of this is that the pulp tissues under the enamel layer of your tooth become exposed.
The pulp is a mixture of nerves and blood vessels, running from the crown of your tooth right down to the roots.
Knowing you have a problem
There are a number of indicative symptoms which can warn you of the possible need for root canal treatment. In some cases, there may be a sharp, needle-like pain, while another common symptom is a newfound intolerance to cold or heat.
Another possible sign that trouble may be looming is an element of swelling or tenderness around the gum area., while discolouration can also be an indicator of a problem.
It’s not always clear-cut, as the symptoms can be relative mild. In some situations, you won’t spot it yourself but your dentist will notice it at one of your regular checkups.
How does it work?
The first thing that needs to be done is that your dentist will have to remove any pulp that’s infected or inflamed. Typically, your dentist will access it via the crown of the tooth.
The next part of the procedure is that your dentist will clean out the canals, followed by a form of moulding process which re-seals them with gutta percha. With this work done, your dentist is now in a position to restore the offending tooth to its original size and shape. To do so, he will use either a permanent filling, or in some circumstances, a crown.
Deciding on which option to go for largely depends on how big a filling would be needed to do the job. If it’s overly large, a crown may be a better option.
A lasting solution to your problem.
Root canals are carried out very regularly by your MyDental dentist, and they’re a very successful form of treatment, typically lasting you as long or longer as your original teeth.
The real importance of this form of treatment is that it allows your dentist to save a tooth that might otherwise need to be extracted, leaving you with a gap in your smile.
The time taken to complete the damaged tooth in this manner is quite lengthy compared to other forms of treatment, but you’ll be anaesthetized at all times, so it’s not a painful procedure by any means.
What can you expect afterwards?
During the first few days after treatment, you may experience a level of inflammation around the root canal. This is quite normal, but should fade fairly quickly.
If it’s casing you any real pain, you can take some over-the-counter painkillers to let you negotiate those first few days after treatment.
And obviously, it’s common sense to remember that you avoid eating anything too hard until things have settled down. It would be a shame if your dentist had to start all over again!
When you visit your dentist after the root canal process, he will make a point of checking out the new crown or filling – just to make sure that everything is as it should be.
No need for a lump sum payment
It can be a bit of a wrench to write a cheque for a lump sum these days, so why not consider availing of our 0% Dental Finance plan?
We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how affordable your treatment can be when you spread it over a number of months.