In the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you'd probably lose that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure called Root Canal Treatment, your tooth can be saved. When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only injure your jawbones, but it is also detrimental to your overall health.
Root canal treatment involves one to three visits. During treatment, your general dentist or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems with the nerves of the teeth) removes the affected tissue. Next, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental composite. If your tooth has extensive decay, your doctor may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth from breaking. As long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.
During treatment, the dentist uses local anaesthesia to ensure patients comfort. Most of the time, people will say that a root canal doesn’t hurt any more than getting a simple filling, and they should be able to return to their normal activities immediately. Since a person needing a root canal is often already in extreme pain, the root canal treatment actually provides relief from pain and recovery is very minimal.
When the anaesthesia wears off, it may feel a little sore when chewing with that tooth – especially if the tooth was abscessed prior to treatment. Even though the nerve is no longer inside the tooth, there are still nerve endings around the outside of the tooth that may be inflamed as a result of an abscess or the root canal treatment itself.
It is best to try chewing on the opposite side of the mouth for a few days following the root canal to give the bone and tissues around the tooth time to calm down. Pain or discomfort can be controlled by taking some over-the-counter pain medication when appropriate. Our dentist will advise you on that.