Root Canal Treatment at Your Gold Coast Dentist
So your dentist has told you that your tooth needs a root canal treatment. What exactly is a root canal treatment? Why do I need a root canal treatment? I heard root canals don’t last very long, isn’t it better to have the tooth taken out? Today, we will be discussing some of the FAQs surrounding root canal treatment.
To start off, let’s discuss what root canal treatment is.
Root canal treatment involves cleaning out of the infected dental pulp (a mix of nerve tissue and blood vessels) and filling this nerve canal space with a special rubber-like filling material. Special equipment is used to ensure that these nerve canals are thoroughly disinfected and sealed off properly to prevent reinfection in the future. Once a root canal treatment is completed, the tooth will no longer feel hot or cold sensations but may still feel the pressure sensations as the ligaments that are on the outside of the tooth are still present.
Why do I need a root canal treatment?
Our dentist will recommend a root canal treatment in cases where the nerve of the tooth is infected or dead. This is commonly caused by large decay that has been left untreated or other causes such as trauma, leaking fillings, wear or cracks on teeth.
Symptoms of an infected nerve usually include extreme pain that is worsened by a hot or a cold drink, pain when eating or continuous sharp pain. Other signs that a tooth needs root canal treatment is discolouration of the tooth to a grey colour after trauma, a swelling/abscess on the gum near the tooth or facial swelling.
What should I expect during the procedure? Why do I need to come back for multiple visits?
Contrary to popular belief, a root canal procedure is not painful. Our dentist will give you a local anaesthetic so that the tooth is completely numb and the procedure will not feel much different to having a filling done. You will also have a rubber-like material called rubber dam placed over the tooth. This is to protect the nerve canal from contamination to give the root canal treatment the best possible long-term outcome.
The root canal procedure may sometimes involve several visits, first to remove the nerve tissue (this appointment will get you out of pain). The second visit is to clean out the nerve canal space thoroughly and the final visit is to fill the inside of this cleaned out nerve canal space. You may be referred to a specialist if the nerve canal has a difficult or narrow shape that requires more specialized equipment to clean properly.
How long does a root canal last? Isn’t it better to just have the tooth pulled out?
Over 90% of root canal treated teeth when completed properly will still be present after 10 years. A root canal-treated tooth has a much higher success rate when a crown has been placed over the tooth to protect it from fracture and give it a better seal to prevent reinfection by bacteria.
A root canal is generally recommended over having a tooth removed as it is much better to have your own tooth than an artificial tooth. If a tooth is removed and not replaced, it can affect the position of teeth beside it and it may interfere with chewing and can cause other issues such as jaw problems.
Photo source: healthdirect.gov.au.
We hope that this has given you a better understanding of root canal treatment the next time your dentist recommends this for your tooth. In some cases, the nerve canal system in your tooth can be quite complex and our dentist may recommend that you see a root canal specialist. Of course, the best way to care for your teeth is regular preventative measures to prevent decay and thus needing root canal treatment in the long term. If you would like to know more, call our friendly team on (07) 5594 6699 to make an appointment today or book online.