If you have a damaged or infected tooth, your dentist will probably recommend a root canal treatment (endodontic therapy). This could save the tooth, relieve your pain or discomfort and restore the tooth’s former appearance and function.
Root canal therapy is a common procedure that has a 90-95 percent success rate at restoring the function of an infected tooth. A tooth that’s been treated with a root canal can be expected to last as long as any other tooth when you follow good oral hygiene and your dentist’s advice.
Many people feel nervous about dental procedures. Finding out what root canal therapy involves and speaking to your dentist could help to put your mind at ease and help you make an informed decision.
What does the root canal procedure involve?
Endodontic treatment is a common dental procedure that may be completed in one or two visits. Your dentist will decide if a root canal is necessary by asking you about your symptoms and examining your mouth, which includes taking x-rays.
After administering a local anaesthetic, your dentist will drill into the tooth to access the infected tissue in the centre (the pulp). This is carefully removed and the tooth cleaned and disinfected to prevent further infection, before being filled with a biocompatible material.
The tooth is then sealed with a temporary filling or crown, which will be replaced with a permanent restoration on your next visit. This can be colour-matched to the rest of your teeth to restore the look, feel and function of the treated tooth.
Does a root canal hurt?
Like many dental procedures, root canal therapy is performed under local anaesthesia. This numbs the tooth and your mouth in that area, so you won’t feel pain or discomfort. Most patients report feeling comfortable during the root canal procedure.
If you have dental anxiety, your dentist may discuss other sedation methods that could help you to feel comfortable and relaxed. However, these may affect your recovery time.
What’s the recovery period following a root canal?
After the anaesthetic wears off, your tooth may feel painful or sensitive for up to several days, especially if the infection was more severe. This can be managed by taking over-the-counter pain relief, prescription medication or home remedies in line with your dentist’s recommendations.
While wearing a temporary crown or filling, you should avoid eating anything that’s too hard, crunchy or chewy, as this could cause it to come loose. After your permanent restoration is bonded into place, you should be able to eat your favourite foods as normal.
If you continue to feel pain or discomfort with your tooth after a few days, you should contact your dentist to make an emergency appointment.
Talk to a dentist in Erskineville
If you have more questions about root canal treatment or you need to see a dentist for any other reason, contact our friendly team at Sydney Park Dental.
Call us on (02) 8084 7170 or make an appointment online with our Erskineville dentists.
American Association of Endodontists. Patient FAQs [Online] 2017 [Accessed July 2018] Available from: https://www.aae.org/patients/root-canal-treatment/faqs/
American Association of Endodontists. Root Canal Explained [Online] 2017 [Accessed July 2018] Available from: https://www.aae.org/patients/root-canal-treatment/what-is-a-root-canal/root-canal-explained/
Better Health Channel. Root canal treatment [Online] 2017 [Accessed July 2018] Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/root-canal-treatment