1) What is root canal?
Root canal is the treatment that is done to repair or save the tooth that has been severely damaged due to decay, cavity, injury or some kind of tooth infection. In such cases, the root of the affected tooth becomes inflamed or infected and requires immediate intervention else as the pain and infection increases, it can lead to complications that can be fatal for the health of your teeth and gums. With the help of a proper dental procedure, the root of the tooth is restored or repaired, depending on the extent of damage.
2) When do I need a root canal?
Look out for these signs:
- Serious or unbearable pain in the tooth while chewing or eating or when you put pressure in the area
- When you feel a sudden gush of pain while eating something too hot or cold. It is known as tooth sensitivity and if the problem is a persistent one and has gotten worse over a period of time, then root canal is advisable
- Darkening of teeth/tooth or change of the colour from white to dark yellow or brown
- Swelling or a bump appearing on the gums near the affected tooth area
3) What will happen at my appointment?
A comprehensive dental check-up is carried out to know the condition of the affected tooth. X-rays are done to assess how badly the tooth is affected. The next step is to apply local anaesthesia on the area to ease any discomfort or pain a patient can face during the process. Special tools are used to clean out the affected area and scoop out any infection or debris from the crown of the tooth. Next up, a special composite filling is put to protect the tooth from any external infection or decay. It can be a temporary or permanent filling and once the filling has dried up and the area is healed, a crown or a prosthetic tooth is finally placed.
4) Will it hurt during the procedure?
The pain that you experience in the affected tooth is because of the infection that has seeped deep into the crown and root of the teeth. Root canal is the process that is performed to eliminate that pain. The process is performed with the help of a local anaesthesia, therefore, the area in the mouth where the procedure is to be carried out, becomes numb to any kind of sensation or pain. However, post the effect of the anaesthesia, some people might feel slight pain in the tooth but it can be subsided with use of pain killer recommended by the dentist.
5) Will it hurt afterwards?
You might get some pain in the area once the effects of the local anaesthesia has weaned away. Teeth sensitivity is also experience by some people who have undergone root canal process. But this is normal and there is nothing to worry about. To reduce pain and to prevent future instances of tooth pain post root canal, follow a proper oral hygiene care routine. Remember to brush using soft bristled tooth brushes and use toothpastes that have been specially formulated for sensitive teeth.
6) Benefits of root canal versus extraction
Root canal and tooth extraction are two procedures that dentists restore to in order to repair or treat tooth/teeth that have been damaged due to infection, decay, cavity or some kind of injury. However, which one to opt for is the decision best left to your dentist. Root canal is done to save teeth/tooth that might be viable to the mouth but has been damaged due to the disease or infection destroying the root of the teeth. Tooth extraction is done in extreme cases when the tooth is beyond repair and leaving it in its existing condition can result in spread of the infection as well as pain that can be both unbearable and fatal to the overall health and hygiene of your mouth.