A routine dental exam can reveal a lot about the health of your teeth. Consistency is key, and a dental exam can help your dental professional determine if you need dental procedures such as a root canal.
Let’s look at what a root canal procedure is, when it’s required, and how long it lasts.
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a treatment used for teeth whose pulp has become inflamed or infected. Root canals can also be used in other situations to help restore a tooth. Cavities can often be the reason a root canal is needed.
Some other common causes of damage to the pulp of your teeth can include:
- Multiple dental procedures on the same tooth
- A chip or crack in the tooth
- An injury to the tooth
A cavity or tooth decay is a hole that forms in your tooth. This tooth decay can start small and become bigger over time when left untreated. Root canals are an excellent option when a cavity becomes too big, and you have to restore your tooth.
Along with cavities, infected teeth play a part in the need for root canals. Some symptoms of an infected tooth can include:
- Severe pain that radiates to the jawbone, neck, or ear
- Swelling in your face or cheek near the source of toothache
- Hot and cold temperature sensitivity
- A persistent and throbbing toothache
If left untreated, an infected tooth can lead to an abscessed tooth, adding to your pain. An abscessed tooth is a tooth with an infection in the pulp—an infection can build up at the root of your tooth and possibly spread.
The Root Canal Process
Your dental professional performs a root canal to remove damaged pulp from the centre of your tooth. The root canal procedure is safe and straightforward—your dental professional will give you a local anesthetic then:
- Place a rubber dam around the tooth being treated to protect it from bacteria
- Make an opening in the tooth to reach the damaged pulp
- Remove the pulp carefully
- Clean the canal before filling and sealing it
- Seal the opening of the tooth with either a temporary or permanent filling
Root canal treatment can be done over 1 or 2 appointments, and after the procedure, your tooth may be sensitive for the first week or so.
Following the procedure, your dental professional will determine if you require a tooth restoration and discuss the next steps with you.
Lasting Power of a Root Canal
A root canal is considered a restorative procedure, and you can still get a cavity or gum disease after a root canal treatment.
A root canal treatment does not protect your tooth from other types of damage. The lasting power of a root canal depends on proper care and regular dental check-ups. With proper maintenance, you may be able to enjoy positive results for a lifetime, but good oral hygiene habits are essential.
While most root canal treatments are successful, a second treatment called “retreatment” may be required in some rare cases. Retreatment is simply removing the original root canal filling material and recleaning, reshaping, and refilling it.
Regular brushing and flossing is always a great idea and can preserve the rest of your teeth along with your root canal. As with anything related to dental health, good oral hygiene habits can help extend the life of your root canal procedure.
Preserve Your Dental Health
Practicing good oral hygiene habits is essential and can help prevent tooth decay. Root canal procedures are safe and effective and can allow you to enjoy your ideal smile once again.
Book an appointment with your dental professional if you’re in need of root canal treatment today.