Root canals provide a highly practical answer when a patient has badly damaged teeth. Find out all you need to know about this affordable treatment right here.
A root canal is very definitely not a treatment that your dentist will recommend lightly. It tends to be something of a last resort when he is faced with the need to protect a badly damaged or badly infected tooth.
Another potential use of this treatment is if you’ve suddenly cracked or damaged a tooth – perhaps through a clash of heads on the rugby pitch, or even a minor car crash.
Although it’s the last resort of your dentist, it’s also a common enough form of treatment, and your MyDental dentist will be very familiar with the procedure – and very expert at carrying it out.
It’s also a very effective treatment, and one that’s well worth considering if you’re faced with losing a tooth otherwise.
The effects of ageing
One further reason for opting for a root canal is when advancing age has caused excessive wear on the enamel of your tooth. What this means in practice is that the pulp tissues beneath the enamel layer of the tooth eventually become partially or fully exposed.
When we refer to pulp, what we mean is a mix of blood vessels and that run to the roots from the crown of your tooth.
Even before your dentist has told you that you need a root canal, there are a number of telltale signs that give the game away. You might feel a very sharp pain, for example, almost if someone is prodding you with a needle.
Another sign that you’re heading for a root canal is that you suddenly become intolerant to heat or cold. And a further sign of impending trouble is a sense of tenderness around the gum – or perhaps swelling or discolouration.
Sometimes, these symptoms may be very mild and you’ll be relying on your dentist to spot the signs, but in other instances, it will be all too clear that you’re heading for a root canal.
Is it a complicated process?
A root canal is carried out in a number of separate processes. First of all, any pulp that is inflamed or infected will have to be removed. Normally, your dentist will get at it through the crown of the tooth.
Once he’s sorted this part of the process, your dentist will clean out the canals, after which he will reseal them with gutta percha.
At this stage, your dentist is able to restore the tooth to its starting size and shape, and to do this, he will either opt for a permanent filling or a crown.
If the filling needed to restore the tooth would be too big to hold, then the crown is the most obvious option.
Is it a long-term solution?
Root canals are an excellent long-term solution and you’ll typically get as much use from your newly restored tooth as you will from your original teeth.
This is a relatively lengthy process compared to standard procedures such as a filling, but it’s well worth the trouble if you can save an endangered tooth.
You’ll be fully anaesthetized at all parts of the procedure, so its relatively pain-free, although you may experience some inflammation around the root canal for the first few days afterwards.
There’s no need to worry about this, as the sensation will soon pass, and you can take a few over-the-counter painkillers if you you’re in any serious discomfort.
And while it may be a case of stating the very obvious, you should refrain from eating anything too hard, as you don’t want to ruin all your dentist’s good work! At your next visit to the dentist after the root canal process, he’ll carry out a quick check to make sure that everything’s in order.
Why not spread the cost?
A root canal is more expensive than more standard dental treatments, so you might like to spread the cost with our 0% Dental Finance plan. It lets you spread the costs over a few months, so there’s no need to write one big cheque.