Root Canal Therapy

You will need root canal therapy if the soft inner part of your tooth, known as the pulp, is injured or becomes inflamed or infected. A root canal is a dental procedure that removes this soft centre which is made up of nerves, connective tissue and blood vessels that keep the tooth alive. Having a root canal is usually no more difficult than having a cavity filled and can take as little as thirty minutes of work by your endodontist or dentist. A root canal treatment can save the tooth you might otherwise lose.

These are Some of the Causes of Damaged ‘Pulp’:

• Tooth decay due to an untreated cavity

• Multiple dental procedures on the same tooth

• A crack or chip in the tooth

• An injury to the tooth from an impact or sporting accident. Even though the tooth may look okay, damage to the pulp can result

You will usually become aware of the need for a root canal when you experience pain in an infected tooth. An X-ray of the tooth reviewed by your dentist will help him to confirm the need.

Some of Symptoms of a Damaged Tooth:

Sensitivity to Heat and Cold

If your tooth hurts when you eat warm food or drink something hot or cold, you may need a root canal. Sensitivity could feel like a dull ache or sharp pain. It may also linger over time.

Tooth Discolouration

An infection in the pulp of your tooth can cause your tooth to become discoloured. Damage to the tooth or failure of the internal tissue can hurt the roots and give the tooth a grayish-black appearance. Of course, discolouration could be caused by something else. You dentist will be better able to advise you.

Swollen Gums

Swollen gums near the painful tooth can be a sign of an issue that requires a root canal. The swelling may come and go. It may or may not be tender to the touch. You may also have a little pimple on your gum and it may ooze pus from an infection in the tooth. This is called a gum boil, parulis, or abscess. This can give you an unpleasant taste in your mouth and make your breath smell bad.

Pain When Eating or When Touching Your Tooth

If your tooth is sensitive enough to cause pain when you touch it or when you eat, it could indicate severe tooth decay or nerve damage, and will need treatment. This is especially the case if the sensitivity continues well after eating, and if you find you need take drugs for the pain.

A Chipped or Cracked Tooth

Have you chipped or cracked your tooth in an accident, or playing sports or in some other way? Bacteria can enter the damaged site and lead to inflammation and infection. Injury to a tooth may not be visible, but still damage the nerves of the tooth.

Tooth Mobility

When your tooth is infected, it may feel lose to the touch. A dead nerve can soften the bone around a tooth leading to tooth mobility. If more than one tooth feels loose, the mobility may not be caused by a root canal issue, but rather, something else. Your dentist will be able to advise you on this.

The Steps in a Root Canal Operation:

The process of having a root canal is much like having a filling done. The following is a summary of the root canal procedure.

• The infected dental pulp and nerve in the root of the tooth is removed under local anesthesia

• Disinfection of the area with antibiotics

• Filling the empty roots with a rubberlike material called gutta-percha

Your endodontist may send you home with a temporary filling while the area of the affected pulp he has removed heals. On your return checkup, he will X-ray the area again and as long as it looks good, he will apply a permanent filling or crown to the tooth. A root canal can leave a tooth more fragile, which is why in some cases, a crown is recommended.

Root canal treatment may be done in one or two appointments. After root canal treatment, your tooth may be tender for the first week or two. Bad pain or swelling are not common. If this happens, see your dentist or endodontist.

Years ago, root canal treatments were painful. While currently not pain free, the pain experienced after a root canal is usually mild. You will likely only need over-the-counter pain medications for relief. These include Tylenol and Advil, or Motrin IB. You may want to check with your doctor if you have any concerns about how these drugs will react to any current prescriptions. You should also avoid chewing hard foods immediately following the root canal, as this can induce more pain.

You can still get a cavity or gum disease after a root canal treatment. Root canal treatment does not protect your natural tooth from other types of damage. With good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist, the repaired tooth could last as long as your other teeth. Most of the time, when a root canal treatment is the best option for you, a natural tooth can be saved. However, in a small percentage of cases, the damaged tooth will need to be extracted.

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Dr. Majeed and your dental team look forward to answering any questions you may have about root canals. Give us a call today at (250) 656-9321 or Click Here to book your next appointment.

Dr. Amir Majeed

Dr. Amir is a member of the British Columbia Dental Association as well as the British Columbia College of Dental Surgeons and has been a full time practicing dentist for over 15 years.

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Sidney, BC
T:(250) 656-9321
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