Oral Health: Why Do I Need Root Canal Treatment?
A root canal surgery does not have to be the harrowing experience it’s made out to be. It involves the core of the tooth, known as the pulp—which consists of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. Naturally, if this part of the tooth—the nerve centre, the lifeblood—becomes infected, it can be the source of excruciating pain.
What is a Root Canal?
Sometimes the pulp tissue of the tooth can become injured, inflamed or infected. A root canal is performed to remove the infected pulp and save the tooth.
In order for your general dentist or endodontist to access the infected pulp of the tooth, an incision at the top of the affected tooth is created, and the infected pulp is removed. The inside of the root canal is now cleaned and shaped, and filled and sealed with a substance called gutta-percha. It is then also sealed with a temporary filling to protect it from being contaminated.
A root canal allows you to keep your natural tooth, and not have to get a dental implant.
Why Do I Need Root Canal Treatment?
The pulp of the tooth can become damaged for a variety of reasons including:
- Cavities left untreated leading to irreversible deep decay
- Chip and cracks in the tooth allow bacteria into the tooth’s dentin or pulp layers, causing infection
- Physical trauma to the tooth where it’s forcefully knocked out of its socket, causing damage to the pulp
An infected tooth will not only cause pain, it may start changing colour and become sensitive to temperature. These are signs of damage within the pulp.
The restoration of the damaged tooth would hence require a root canal. If handled properly, this infamous dental procedure, associated with pain, anxiety and dread, can be manageable.
How to Prepare Before the Procedure
1. Managing anxiety
A root canal procedure can be the source of much anxiety. However, there is no reason for it to be, especially if you know you’ll be in good hands. Speak to our team of experienced dentists—we will take the time to answer all your questions. Our main objectives are to put you at ease and provide you with the best possible care.
Before the root canal is performed, local anesthesia will be injected into your gums and you will feel no pain during the procedure.
2. Eating before the procedure
It is highly recommended that you have a full meal on the day of your root canal treatment. It might be difficult to eat for a few hours after the procedure, as it takes some time for the anaesthetic to wear off.
3. What to avoid
It is best to avoid vices such as smoking and drinking for at least a day before your surgery. In general, smoking should be avoided as it disrupts a healthy flow of blood and can trigger dental health problems such as cavities and gum disease.
After the Procedure
1. Over-the-counter pain relief medication
It is completely normal to feel pain after the procedure. Many patients usually experience mild pain and sensitivity for a few days after. To manage this pain, over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB), can be considered for some relief. However, if you continue to feel pain for several weeks, it would be best to come in for
2. Recommended food
It is best to avoid food that is hard or crunchy as your teeth and gum areas are still sore from the surgery.
What Happens After a Root Canal?
How long a root canal lasts depends on how well you take of your treated teeth. Your root canal can last a lifetime if you have good oral hygiene habits and practice proper brushing.