Putting off a root canal treatment your dentist has recommended for you? Whatever your excuse is, you know deep down that it’s wiser to listen to your dentist. An immediate root canal can save you from losing your tooth altogether.
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal is the recommended dental treatment when the pulp — the soft tissue deep inside the root of your tooth, containing blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue — becomes infected. Infection typically starts as a chip or crack in the tooth or an untreated cavity. A root canal treatment removes the infected pulp within the tooth and seals it to prevent future infections. If you take proper care of your treated tooth, it should last you a very long time.
Signs You May Need a Root Canal
You’ll need a root canal when you have a tooth infection or the pulp of your tooth is damaged. Your symptoms may include:
- You have spontaneous tooth pain.
- Your tooth is sensitive to hot and cold food or drinks.
- You feel pain when biting or chewing.
- Your infected tooth is loosening.
- There’s swelling in the gum near the affected tooth or your face is swelling.
- There’s pus surrounding the affected tooth.
How Does a Root Canal Treatment Work?
A root canal treatment is a simple general dental treatment. The procedure involves your dentist removing the damaged pulp from your tooth, cleaning and disinfecting the tooth interior, filling the tooth with gutta-percha or a similar material, and then sealing it for protection. Local anesthesia is, of course, applied to the affected tooth area to ensure a comfortable procedure.
Can I Skip a Root Canal Treatment?
If not treated properly, an infected tooth pulp will only get worse. That’s why you should follow through with your root canal treatment. Although the pain may sometimes disappear, it doesn’t mean that the infection has healed itself. Contrary, it’s a sign that the nerves inside of your infected tooth have died. There may no longer be any pain; however, the infection will still be present inside your tooth. Left untreated, the infection on your tooth can spread to your jaw, brain, blood and rest of your body.
Severe consequences from having an untreated tooth infection include:
- Tooth loss
- Jaw pain
- Dental abscesses
- Joint pain
- Heart attack
How Long Does a Root Canal Take?
An average root canal treatment lasts about 30 to 60 minutes. However, some severe cases may need 90 minutes or more. Sometimes, these severe cases may need a second appointment if your dentist recommends a crown or permanent filling for the tooth.
Does a Root Canal Hurt?
Generally, a root canal treatment causes little to no pain at all. The process typically begins with numbing the tooth and surrounding area with local anesthesia to prevent discomfort during the procedure. Afterwards, it’s normal to experience minor pain and sensitivity a few days following the treatment. You can apply an over-the-counter pain reliever to help you ease any pain or soreness. If pain persists, it’s advisable to contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Root Canal Aftercare
Good and proper aftercare can make a treated tooth last a lifetime. So, make sure you do the the following:
- Brush your teeth twice a day, and floss at least once each day.
- Visit your dentist regularly.
- Avoid high-sugar food and drinks.
- Avoid hard foods.
Treat Your Infected Tooth Today!
Is your toothache getting worse? You may need a root canal. If you’re in Collingwood, come visit us for a check-up and all your dental care needs! Our clinic offers a wide selection of dental services, including regular cleaning, crowns, dentures and root canals. Call us now to schedule an appointment.