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How We Use A Root Canal To Save Your Smile


How much do you know about root canal treatment? This article will outline exactly how a root canal can be used to save your smile if you have a damaged tooth, including how it works and the benefits of getting it done. So if you want to know more, keep reading!

What is root canal treatment (Endodontics)?

Endodontics is a branch of dentistry that specifically covers diagnosing and treating damage/diseases of the pulp and nerve tissue inside your tooth. This usually entails a common procedure, known as root canal treatment/endodontic therapy to treat the infected/damaged pulp by thoroughly cleaning the root. It also helps maintain the overall health of your tooth (preventing the need for an extraction!) and prevents secondary decay reaching your surrounding teeth.

Why choose an Endodontist?

An endodontist is a dentist that has specialized in specifically treating the pulp and nerve of the tooth. This specialization indicates that they have at least two more years of training and are highly experienced when it comes to diagnosing issues with the pulp.

This also means they are highly experienced at conducting root canal treatment, which is one of the most common procedures they perform. Endodontists need to be quite skilled at what they do since most procedures they cover are considered dental emergencies.

There are several reasons why you may be recommended to see an endodonist, including severe toothaches and tenderness when chewing. If you think you may have a damaged tooth that needs fixing, consult with our dental professionals at Port Melbourne Dental for quality dental care.

Do you need a root canal?

Here are some of the most common symptoms that will leave you more likely in need of a root canal:

1. Toothaches

If you have a persistent toothache that always tends to come back, this could signify a serious issue. This ache could also spread to your jaw & face, causing additional soreness.

2. Tooth discoloration

Damage to the root/pulp of your tooth by decay or trauma can make the tooth look grey/black from the outside.

3. Hot/Cold Sensitivity

Sensitivity can be caused by many different factors, and an infected pulp is one of them. If you experience pain when biting down or drinking hot/cold beverages, this means your tooth may have infected blood vessels and nerves.

4. Cracked tooth

If your teeth undergoes trauma and is chipped/cracked, this could compromise the inner nerves if you don’t seek dental assistance. Eventually this untreated chipped tooth will likely lead to increased sensitivity to hot/cold food and drink.

5. Swollen gums

Keep an eye on the swelling and if it doesn’t disappear in a week, then we recommend scheduling a checkup. Gently press around the area and if you experience pain, this means you might need a root canal.

Just keep in mind that while these symptoms could also be an indication of dental conditions unrelated to an infected dental pulp. The only way to know for sure if you need a root canal, is to get a checkup carried out by one of our dental professionals. In either case, if left untreated, these symptoms can lead to unbearable pain.

Benefits of a Root Canal

If you’re in need of a root canal, chances are you’re experiencing a lot of pain and sensitivity. A root canal will take care of that for you! Here are some other benefits you can expect:

  • The biggest benefit is that it helps save your natural tooth.
  • Thoroughly clears out infection in the area.
  • Enhances appearance of your tooth if dental crown is placed on top.
  • Preserving your natural tooth means that its root continues to stimulate the bone and prevents deterioration.

How does a root canal work?

As we mentioned, a root canal is used on the soft tissues inside your tooth when they’re inflamed or infected. These soft tissues are made up of nerves, blood vessels and other connective tissues. Any inflammation or infection that settles here is due to a severe cavity, a crack in your tooth, or repeated dental treatment. During root canal treatment, the infected pulp is removed, and the inner area thoroughly cleaned before being filled and then sealed off so more bacteria can’t enter again. This entire process can take about 30 minutes to an hour to complete usually. In more complicated cases, it can go up to an hour and a half. Here’s the step by step process:

1. Root canal cleaning

Under local anesthetic (to minimize any discomfort), a small hole will be drilled into the tooth so the infected pulp can be removed. Small files and irrigation solutions will be used to make sure the cavity is completely disinfected.

2. Root canal filling

Once cleaned, the canals will be then be sealed using adhesive cement, and a rubbery material will be used to fill the tooth. The tooth will be brittle and delicate after this, however, as the amount of nutrition reaching it is limited without the pulp.

3. Dental crown

In order to protect your brittle tooth from further damage (either from a potential injury or daily wear and tear), a crown or filling will be added. This fixed tooth can last a lifetime with the right maintenance and care.

How do you recover from a root canal?

Post-procedure you might experience some soreness and swelling, which should go down in a few days. Any discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter medication and we recommend staying away from hard foods in the first week as well. Root canals have a high success rate, so you can usually expect them to last a lifetime if you take good care of your teeth (by regular brushing and flossing). We also recommend coming in for regular checkups with our dentist so we can intercept any other cases of decay early before it escalates to a painful, infected pulp.

Want to know more or have a persistent toothache that’s been bugging you for awhile? Give us a call and schedule a consultation with our experienced dentists at Port Melbourne Dental.