ENDODONTICS (ROOT CANAL THERAPY)
Does your tooth feel painful or sensitive?
If you have a dull, throbbing pain in your tooth, or your tooth feels overly sensitive to hot and cold food and drink, it may be damaged or infected. This can usually be treated with root canal therapy (endodontics).
At Sydney Park Dental, our experienced dentists can perform root canal treatments to save teeth that are badly damaged or infected, so they won’t need to be extracted and the infection won’t spread. After the treatment, we’ll place a restoration over the treated tooth to restore its original strength and appearance.
When you make an appointment at our Erskineville clinic, we’ll examine your tooth to find out if it’s suitable for a root canal. We’ll make sure you understand what this treatment involves, including risks and costs, so you can make a decision you’re happy with.
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What is root canal therapy?
Endodontics, commonly known as root canal therapy, is one of the most common dental procedures. It’s performed on teeth that have been severely damaged or infected, allowing bacteria to access the soft centre of the tooth (the pulp) where the nerve endings are found.
Endodontic treatment involves removing the pulp and replacing it with a synthetic substitute. Your tooth will be restored to its original appearance using a filling or crown, and will still be healthy and functional, only less sensitive to temperature and pressure than before as the nerve has been removed.
Root canal therapy can only be performed by dental professionals who have been trained in endodontics.
Do I need a root canal?
The dental pulp can become infected when the harder enamel and dentine layers of the tooth are damaged, exposing the soft interior. This usually happens because of tooth decay, but it can also happen if a tooth is injured and gets fractured or cracked. Sometimes, the damage can be too minor to see with the naked eye.
You may have a damaged or infected tooth if you feel a sudden toothache that won’t go away, your tooth hurts when you eat or feels more sensitive to temperature, or you notice swelling in the gum surrounding a tooth.
We’ll give you a complete oral health assessment when you visit our dental clinic to find out if a root canal could help you. A tooth that’s too badly damaged to save with a root canal will usually need to be extracted, but we’ll always try to save a healthy tooth if we can.
What happens during the root canal procedure?
If you choose to have endodontic treatment, we’ll examine the damaged or infected tooth using x-rays to help us develop the most effective treatment plan. The treatment is straightforward and carried out using local anaesthetic to block feelings of pain.
During the procedure, your dentist will drill into your tooth to access the infected pulp, which will then be carefully removed. The inside of your tooth will be disinfected and flushed out to remove bacteria and debris, and we’ll then place medicaments inside to further reduce the bacteria load.
At the following appointment, we’ll insert a synthetic material to fill the canal space. The final stage of root canal therapy is to seal your tooth using a filling or crown to restore its original appearance. We’ll take an impression of the treated tooth and fit a temporary crown while your custom crown is manufactured at a dental laboratory, ready to be fitted on your next appointment.
Is getting a root canal painful?
Many people associate root canals with pain, but really it’s the symptom of an infected tooth that causes the pain, not the treatment itself. Your gum may feel tender for the first couple of days following the treatment, as we have to clean out the bacteria that are located at the root tip of the tooth.
We recommend a crown for all root canal treated molar teeth, to help protect the tooth from fracturing. If you decide to have a crown placed, we’ll first fit you with a temporary crown while your custom crown is being manufactured. While wearing a temporary crown, you should avoid biting down on hard or crunchy foods, as this could cause discomfort or risk dislodging the crown.
What are the risks?
We’ll make sure you understand the possible risks and complications before you agree to root canal treatment.
These treatments are successful at removing the infection in the majority of cases, but there’s a possibility of re-infection if the tooth has other cracks that were overlooked, the crown is improperly placed or the filling material degrades over time. If this happens, a second root canal treatment may be performed, or the tooth may have to be extracted.
If you have any unexpected symptoms following your root canal procedure, contact us to make an emergency appointment.
What are my other options?
If a tooth is already infected or damaged, a root canal may be the only option for removing the infection while also retaining the tooth. The only alternative is to extract the infected tooth and replace it with a denture, bridge or an implant, which is more complex and expensive.
We always recommend root canal therapy over an extraction to give you the best chance of preserving your natural teeth. A tooth that’s been treated with root canal therapy can last as long as the rest of your teeth when you follow good oral hygiene.
You can lower your risk of needing root canal therapy or other dental treatments in the future by making sure you take good care of your teeth and gums every day. Good oral hygiene is brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, eating a healthy diet and keeping up with your regular dental check-ups.
What does a root canal cost?
The cost of root canal therapy depends on the number of canals treated in the tooth and includes the restoration to seal your tooth. We’ll give you a complete breakdown of costs and discuss payment options during your consultation.