Understanding Root Canal Treatment: A Brief Guide

There are two words associated with dentistry that often ring fear in people’s ears —“root canal”. Root canal treatments have quite an unfair reputation, though. This much-misunderstood procedure addresses a very painful problem that could cause you serious harm — a root canal infection. 

Talk to friends and relatives, and you’re bound to hear stories of root canal treatments that will fill you with dread. But the simple fact is that a root canal treatment is straightforward and will leave you infection-free and feeling much better. 

Much of the problem surrounding root canal treatment stems from misinformation. If you need this procedure, it’s good to separate the facts from the fiction and learn what you can really expect. 

In this brief guide, we’ll talk you through everything you need to know ahead of your root canal treatment. 

What Is a Root Canal?

Root canals are parts of your teeth. They’re inside the roots that stem down into your jaw, and they contain living tissue called the dental pulp. The dental pulp comprises nerve endings, connective tissue, blood vessels, and other cells. It’s found in the pulp chamber at the core of your teeth and also in the root canal system. Each tooth can have up to four root canals. 

What Are the Symptoms of a Root Canal Infection?

When the outer layer of a tooth is compromised, either through decay or trauma, bacteria can enter the tooth and cause a root canal infection. When this occurs, you’ll experience the following symptoms: 

  • Toothache, particularly while chewing
  • Sensitivity when eating or drinking anything hot or cold
  • Swelling in the area of the mouth surrounding the tooth
  • The tooth might turn black
  • Pus oozing from below the tooth

Root canal infections should not be ignored. An infection can kill a tooth, and it will move to other parts of your mouth and body. 

What Is Root Canal Treatment?

Root canal treatments remove the infection from your tooth. Using the latest techniques and equipment, we enter the tooth and extract the infected matter before plugging the area and sealing the tooth. In some cases, we’d recommend having a crown added later for extra protection. 

How Painful Is Root Canal Treatment?

During your root canal treatment, you’ll be under local anaesthetic. This numbers the treatment area, meaning you won’t feel any pain or discomfort. 

The root canal infection itself is very painful. Before you receive treatment, you might find the pain hard to manage, and it could impact your day-to-day life. Once we’ve removed the infection, you might experience some sensitivity as you recover, but the previous pain will have gone. 

Root Canal Treatment Vs Extraction

Misunderstandings around root canal treatment may prompt some people to believe extracting the tooth is a better option than the procedure to remove the infection. This is not often the case. 

In the first instance, we’d always try to save a tooth. As long as we get to treat your infection early enough, we can usually remove the infection without further complications.

Extractions are only a last resort, as losing a tooth can cause problems for your other teeth, such as dental drift or tooth decay. 

Recovering From Root Canal Treatment

Recovery from root canal treatments is typically straightforward. You may feel sensitivity in the area for a while; however, this will usually subside on its own. Any discomfort can easily be managed with paracetamol. 

How to Avoid Root Canal Infections

The best way to avoid a root canal infection is to have regular dental checkups, maintain good standards of oral hygiene, and avoid sugary drinks and food. A routine checkup helps us spot and treat the early signs of decay that might open you up to the risk of infection. 

Root Canal Treatment at SmileMore

At SmileMore, we’re here to ensure your teeth are in the best health possible. If you believe you may have a root canal infection, call us today to book an appointment.

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