The inside of your tooth, which is known as the pulp, can become inflamed or infected due to various forms of trauma, even requiring a visit to your local emergency dentist. When this happens, it is crucial that you save your tooth with root canal treatment. Pulp inflammation or infection that is left untreated can cause pain and abscesses. If you are hesitant about receiving root canal therapy, some simple information should help to put you at ease. Read on to find out everything you need to know about root canals and their ability to save infected teeth.
What Is a Root Canal Treatment?
Root canal treatment is designed to repair the damaged or diseased interior of a tooth. It does this by eliminating bacteria from the infected root canal. The process involves drilling a hole into the tooth and removing the soft centre, which will be an infected or inflamed dental pulp. The inside of the tooth is then carefully cleaned, disinfected, filled and sealed. The crown of the tooth may also be replaced if necessary. Root canal treatment, which is also known as endodontic treatment, is often the best method for saving a tooth.
What Happens During a Root Canal Treatment?
Your dentist begins by taking an x-ray of your tooth to observe the shape of the root canals. They will also take this opportunity to check if there is any infection in the bone around the tooth. A rubber dam, which is like a rubber sheet, is then placed over the tooth to prevent contamination. Next, a local anaesthetic will be applied to numb the area around your tooth. Your dentist will drill a hole into the tooth, remove the pulp, clean the canals and place a sterile filling inside.
If the treatment requires several appointments, your dentist will seal your tooth with a temporary filling between sessions. For extra protection, they will also put a metal band around your tooth. Finally, once your dentist is finished, they will fill the canal space with a rubber-like material called gutta percha. They might also insert a small support into the root canals to strengthen your tooth.
But How Do Teeth Get Infected?
There are many reasons why a tooth might get infected and require root canal treatment. Your tooth might become damaged due to injury, decay, general wear and tear, a cracked filling, repeated dental work, or gum disease. Once your tooth becomes damaged, bacteria inside it can begin to multiply. This can cause an infection or abscess, which is a pocket of pus that develops at your tooth’s root.
So, Why Is it Important to Save Infected Teeth?
If possible, it is better to save your tooth than replace it. Real teeth work better than artificial ones for biting and chewing, and replacing a tooth is a much more complicated procedure than fixing one. Losing a tooth can also lead to other problems in your mouth, potentially compromising your speech, appearance and eating habits.
How to Care for Your Tooth After a Root Canal?
There are many aftercare tips that dentists recommend for when you receive a root canal:
- Take an over-the-counter pain relief medication as directed by your dentist.
- If excessive bleeding occurs (some bleeding is normal) hold a moistened gauze pad to the area for 20–30 minutes.
- Eat soft, nourishing foods until you can chew normally again.
- Sleep with your head slightly elevated.
- 24 hours after the root canal treatment, begin rinsing your mouth with warm salty water.
- Up to a week after the procedure, rinse your mouth after meals and before bed.
- Stay well rested.
How Long Does a Root Canal Take to Heal?
Recovery from root canal treatment is generally pretty painless and straightforward. 2–4 hours after treatment, most patients will be able to return to work. It is recommended that you wait to eat until the numbness has dissipated though, so that you don’t accidentally damage the inside of your mouth.
How to Avoid Root Canals in the Long Term?
If you want to skip needing a root canal, it’s best to brush and floss regularly, and make sure you’re using a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride strengthens the enamel coating of your teeth and protects them from decay. It is also a good idea to have a healthy diet and get regular check-ups at your dentist. Dentists can spot early signs of root canal trouble and might be able to help you prevent them from fully developing.
In Need of a Local Emergency Dentist?
If you’re still looking for some clarification in regards to root canal treatment, you can always contact your local dentist and book an appointment. If you’re in need of emergency treatment, they should also be able to tend to your needs immediately. For a reliable dental clinic in the Collingwood area, Stanley St. Dental is an excellent choice. Our dentists are experienced, understanding and highly professional. We are happy to answer your questions, diagnose your oral health problems and ultimately give you the treatment you need. Contact us today!