Root Canal Treatment

The goal of root canal treatment is to save the tooth by removing the infected or damaged pulp, treating any infection, and filling the empty root canals. It is highly advised not to ignore the infected tooth as the infection may spread to the head and neck region.

If the root canal treatment is not done the infected tooth may have to be extracted. It is better to keep your natural teeth while you can as losing one might cause the neighboring teeth to drift out of line. Saving your tooth also helps you to avoid other treatments, such as implants or bridges.

The pulp is a sensitive tissue made up of blood vessels and nerves that provide oxygen, nutrients, and sensation to the tooth.

Causes of infected or death of the pulp

An untreated cavity is a common cause of pulp (nerve) infection. The decay destroys the enamel and dentin of the tooth until it reaches the pulp which carries bacteria causing infection.

Another cause would be damage to the pulp, for example, a fracture/trauma to the tooth.

Sometimes, common dental procedures can hurt the pulp too. One example will be if a tooth is cut too close to the pulp while it’s being prepared for a crown.

Some other causes would be:

  • Deep cavities
  • Fractures
  • Deep cracks that expose the pulp
  • Trauma from fall or blow from sports
  • Worn enamel
  • Periodontal disease

Signs and symptoms

  • Extreme or prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Pain when biting or chewing
  • Tooth discoloration (may appear grey or darker yellow)
  • Swelling of the face or gum
  • Loosening of the tooth
  • Presence of pus around the affected tooth

Treatment Process

Session 1

The dentist will remove the diseased pulp using a disinfectant. It will flush out any debris and remove any decay. After this, an antibiotic medication is placed inside the canal. To close the opening on top of the tooth, a temporary filling will be done.

Session 2

Canals are measured and prepared to ensure the placement of the root filling. It will remove any remaining diseased/dead nerves or debris. Then another medication will be placed and closed with a temporary filling. Generally, this session has to be done within 2 weeks of doing session 1.

Session 3

The pulp chamber and root canals are filled and sealed. The tooth opening is restored with a filling.

The tooth becomes brittle after the root canal treatment. So, to strengthen and ensure the longevity of the tooth, we highly recommend placing a crown as soon as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does root canal treatment hurt?

The procedure itself is generally not painful and local anesthetic is given to numb the affected tooth area.

How many appointments will be required for the treatment?

Usually, it requires up to 3 appointments but it depends on the complexity of the case.

Will it take long to recover from the treatment?

There will be some discomfort or dull ache near the affected tooth. In the first session, the tooth will settle down within 24 hours. However, if swelling is present, the dentist will prescribe an antibiotic which will take a few more days to settle.

Can I eat straight after a root canal procedure?

As the treatment is done under local anesthetic, you will be numb for the next 3-5 hours. You will be advised not to eat until the numbness wears off to avoid biting your tongue or cheeks. Try to avoid eating anything hard or crunchy on that side straight away to let the tooth heal. You can have soft cold foods like bananas, yogurt, soup, or eggs.

What are the benefits of Root Canal Treatment?

The most common reason is to prevent the spread of infection. Others would include; relieving pain and discomfort plus you get to save your actual tooth!