Root Canal Treatment
Why you need a root canal treatment?
Has your dentist told you that you need a root canal treatment? This phrase is often scary to people, but it doesn’t have to be! Once you’re informed about the procedure and the pain relief it will bring you, your decision to proceed will likely be much easier.
A root canal treatment is performed when a tooth is badly damaged, decayed, or infected. The procedure is intended to save the tooth and prevent further problems.
What Exactly Does "Root Canal" Mean?
The root canal of a tooth holds a soft material called pulp, as well as the tooth’s nerves. When a tooth is damaged or decayed, this pulpy material and the roots may be exposed or damaged, which can cause extreme pain and discomfort. If not taken care of properly, the tissue surrounding the injured tooth can become abscessed, leading to even more severe suffering. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms at the tip of the root of the tooth. It carries infection, which can spread past the roots of the tooth and can cause:
- Swelling in the gums, face, neck, or head
- Bone loss in the jaw at where the root of the tooth lives
- Drainage into a patient’s gums, cheeks, or skin
To prevent or correct serious problems, a dentist will perform a root canal treatment. Because a tooth’s nerves are not essential to its functioning, the presence or absence of the nerves won’t affect a patient’s ability to eat, speak, or do any of the things he or she is used to doing. It will, however, alleviate the pain that comes from damage or infection.
In short, a root canal is simply the process of removing the pulp and nerves from the location in which they reside in an infected or damaged tooth.
What Happens During a Root Canal?
Your dentist must first assess your need for a root canal treatment. Once she has diagnosed your particular situation and discussed your options, you’ll schedule the initial treatment visit. Although you might only need a single visit, many patients require several. Be sure to discuss timeframes with your dentist if this is a concern.
Before your root canal treatment begins, your dentist will take x-rays so she can see the shape of your root canals and ensure there aren’t signs of infection surrounding your jawbone.
Although anesthesia is not always needed, most of the time, we do anesthetize patients who come to our Lasalle dental clinic. The tooth is dead and shouldn’t cause pain during the root canal treatment, but we find that anesthesia helps keep our patients more relaxed.
- Application of a Rubber Dam
The rubber dam helps keep the area dry while you’re dentist is working in your mouth. It prevents saliva from seeping into the work area.
- Drilling of an Access Hole
Because the pulp needs to be removed from the inner layer of the tooth, your dentist will drill a hole into the enamel, which enables her to access the insides of the problematic tooth. Using root canal files, your dentist will work down the full length of the tooth, scraping and scrubbing the insides of the root canal to remove bacteria, debris, and the remaining pulp and nerves. One the inside of the tooth has been cleaned out, she’ll flush away remaining debris using water or a sodium hypochlorite solution to ensure nothing’s left within the tooth.
A sealant will be applied to the hole once it’s all clear. If you had an abscess or infection, your dentist may prescribe medications and wait a few days before sealing the tooth. In many cases, the sealant can be applied in the same visit as the root canal treatment procedure. If you’re asked to come back for a second visit, your dentist will seal the hole with a temporary filling to keep contaminants out of the newly exposed area.
- Filling the Inner Tooth
The newly hollowed tooth will be filled with a sealer paste and rubber compound. This material replaces the pulp that was removed during the root canal. The exterior access hole will be replaced with a permanent filling or crown.
- Additional Cosmetic Dentistry
Many times, teeth that need root canals have suffered severe decay and require cosmetic dentistry and further restoration to bring everything back to a beautiful smile. If you visit Centre Dentaire in Lasalle, Dre Nathalie Kadoch and her team will discuss specifics with you, as each situation is different. The final steps of the process not only vary from patient to patient, but also from tooth to tooth. If you’ve had a root canal treatment previously, your experience next time may be completely different, depending on the decay or weakness of the tooth that’s being corrected.
Do Root Canals Hurt?
While root canals do have a reputation for being painful, the truth is, most patients are in far more pain when they’re living with an infected tooth than they are during or after the procedure. The purpose of a root canal treatment is to eliminate unnecessary pain and give patients back their quality of life; many people report there’s no more discomfort during a root canal that what they would experience during a routine filling.
How Do You Care for Your Teeth After a Root Canal?
Proper brushing and flossing is vital to ensuring you don’t have to undergo another root canal treatment. With that said, once your procedure is complete, the restored tooth should operate just like your natural teeth, so you can care for your oral health as you normally would. If you’ve been lax on brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash in the past, this is a great time to adjust your morning and evening routines to keep your teeth and gums healthy going forward. Preventative care and regular visits to your dentist are key at this point.
How Much Does a Root Canal Cost?
Like most medical procedures, the cost of a root canal treatment is largely dependent on individual factors, such as:
- How severe the problem is
- Which tooth is affected
- How much restoration is necessary to complete the procedure
Incisors tend to be slightly cheaper than molars. Be sure to tell our Montreal dental clinic if you have dental insurance; often, dental insurance companies will cover at least a portion of root canals, as they’re seldom considered cosmetic elections.
How Do You Know if You Need a Root Canal?
Only your dentist can tell you for sure. If you’re experiencing sensitivity when you eat or drink, or if you find that you’re in pain in or around your mouth, it’s always best to see a dentist right away. There are many reasons you might be experiencing tooth pain, but you never want to let your situation go for too long. The more delayed your visit the dentist, the worse your oral health problems can become.
If you’re looking for a Montreal dentist who can skillfully perform your root canal treatment, you’ve come to the right place. Reach out to Dre Nathalie Kadoch’s team at Centre Dentaire to schedule you’re initial consultation.
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