Sometimes, you may wonder if there could be a viable way to preserve a severely decayed, infected, or dying tooth. After all, no prosthetic tooth restoration, except for a dental implant, will reinstate the full function of your lost tooth.
A root canal or endodontic therapy is one of the ways to ensure that you do not lose a tooth even after a cavity or injury has damaged it badly.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Root Canal?
- 2 Symptoms of Dental Infection
- 3 When do you need a root canal?
- 4 Root Canal Treatment
- 5 How long is root canal recovery?
- 6 Are root canals a lifetime treatment?
- 7 Root Canal Treatment FAQs
- 8 Consult Our Endodontists
What is Root Canal?
Root canal treatment is designed to remove a tooth’s infected or inflamed pulp and clean its inner chamber and tooth root. As a result, the tooth core is disinfected. After that, it is secured with a filling material. This procedure mainly aims to help a damaged tooth regain its normal function, even though that tooth will be ‘dead’ after the treatment.
Symptoms of Dental Infection
The possible symptoms of dental infection include:
- Throbbing pain in the tooth and jawbone that may radiate to the ear and neck
- Increased mouth’s sensitivity to pressure
- Tooth’s hypersensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- Swelling in the cheek
- Tooth pain that worsens when you lie down
- Bad breath
- Bad taste in the mouth
When do you need a root canal?
You may need a root canal when you have a cracked tooth, a deep cavity, or problems with the previous dental filling. Here is a list of the most common symptoms that might suggest you need root canal treatment.
- Excruciating pain when biting or chewing
- A cracked or chipped tooth
- Pimples on the gums
- Tooth sensitivity lingering on, even after the source of sensitivity is removed
- Tenderness or swelling in gums
- Darkening of gums or deep decay.
Root Canal Treatment
Before starting the root canal procedure, your dentist will take a dental x-ray of the affected tooth to determine the degree of damage. This quick test also helps them ensure that the root canal is an appropriate option to treat the problem. Here is a quick rundown of the steps involved in this treatment.
- Anesthesia: The doctor will administer local anesthesia before the treatment to desensitize the affected tooth and surrounding soft tissues. They may also consider other options like oral sedatives, nitrous oxide, or IV sedation to help you relax.
- Dental dam: They will place a dental dam over the affected tooth to keep it dry and isolate it from other teeth during the treatment.
- Creating an opening: The dentist will make a small hole in the crown by drilling through the tooth enamel and dentin to access the tooth pulp.
- Pulp removal: Next, they will use tiny instruments to remove the tooth pulp through that small hole. This pulp extraction clears the infected dental nerves and blood vessels from the tooth’s inner chamber and the entire root length, ridding that tooth of its pain-causing infection.
- Cleaning the canals: Once the pulp has been removed, the dentist will clean and disinfect the tooth’s inner chamber and narrow canals.
- Root Canal Filling: They will fill the canals with a rubbery substance called gutta-percha.
- Tooth sealing: In this step, the dentist will place a temporary filling to prevent bacteria from entering the treated area of the tooth.
- Dental crown: Finally, the dentist will place a crown over the treated tooth. It is the final step of the procedure and is imperative to restore your bite aesthetics and function.
How long is root canal recovery?
The recovery time of a root canal procedure usually lasts a week. You may feel mild discomfort during this time, which you can manage with pain medication. Call your healthcare provider for help if there is persistent or severe pain.
Are root canals a lifetime treatment?
The results of root canals last a lifetime, provided you take good care of your treated and natural teeth and surrounding tissues for the rest of your life. A few things that can help you prolong the root canal treatment results for the rest of your life are as follows.
- Make sure that your dentist places seals your teeth and places a crown immediately after cleaning the tooth’s inner chamber. This will help prevent bacteria from seeping into the treated region.
- Although your tooth has been cleaned and disinfected during a root canal treatment, it can still develop a cavity in the future. These cavities won’t cause any pain because you no longer have any dental nerves, but you may still risk losing the tooth. Therefore, regular dental cleaning sessions are imperative to avoid cavities in the future.
- Last but not least, ensure to stay on top of your oral hygiene to prevent harmful oral bacteria from multiplying. Brush your teeth twice and floss once daily. Use an alcohol-free mouth rinse to keep your oral cavity disinfected.
Root Canal Treatment FAQs
Is a root canal painful?
Contrary to the common perception, a root canal treatment is not much painful. This treatment is generally performed under anesthesia or sedatives, meaning you will be relaxed during the procedure. You may have mild discomfort once the effect of anesthesia wears off. This discomfort lasts a few days and is generally manageable with pain medications.
How long do root canals take?
Root canal therapy may require one to two treatment sessions, depending on the amount of infection inside the tooth. The length of an average treatment session is 30 to 60 minutes. The treatment session may last several more minutes if the tooth being treated is large with multiple roots. Twisted roots can also length the procedure’s duration.
What are the 3 stages of root canal treatment?
The three stages of root canal treatment include:
Extirpation, which involves nerve removal, infection control, and tooth medication
Instrumentation, which involves detailed cleaning to make the tooth bacteria-free
Obturation, which involves filling the tooth’s empty chamber with a specialized rubbery material called gutta-percha
How can I prevent a root canal naturally?
A root canal procedure is the best way to salvage a tooth with bacterial infection spread in the nerves and vessels inside it. But it is even better not to need root canal treatment in the first place. The good news is it is possible with the following measures.
Brush your teeth twice daily.
Floss at least once every day.
Avoid biting on hard candies and lollipops.
Be vigilant with weaker teeth, especially the ones with restorations.
Do not chew on ice.
Wear a mouthguard when playing sports to avoid injuries.
Stay away from acidic foods and drinks.
Visit your dentist immediately upon noticing pain in the tooth.
Consult Our Endodontists
Do you have a cavity spread deep down through your tooth’s layers and infecting its pulp? Maybe it’s when you need a root canal treatment to prevent further damage. You can get this treatment at Euromed Clinic Dubai, a state-of-the-art facility where you get medical and aesthetic treatments from top practitioners. Please fill out the online form below for more information or to book a consultation.
Check Out Our Specialists Profiles
- General Dentist and Implantologist Europe
Dr. Sofia Aravopoulou is a DHA-licensed general dentist and implantologist with 18+ years of experience. She is an expert in Digital Smile Design (DSD) and currently serves as the Head of the Dental Department at the Euromed Clinic Center.Read more
- General Dentist
Dr. Carla Cyrino is a professional general and cosmetic dentist having 25 years of experience, licensed by the Dubai Health Authority. She specializes in cosmetic and restorative dentistry, Digital Smile Design, gummy smile correction, etc.Read more