At MJ Warren Dental Practice we always strive to protect your natural teeth for as long as possible. We know they are the best set you will ever have, and even though dentistry has come on in leaps and bounds, restorations will never be a good as a natural set of teeth.
That being said, over time things can occur in our mouth which may jeopardize the health of our natural teeth. We will always aim to educate our patients on best practices when it comes to oral hygiene so we can protect our teeth for a long time, and we also recommend regular visits to the dentist so we can pick up early warning signs.
Why May I Need A Root Canal?
Root canals are used on teeth that have been decayed to the core (pulp of the tooth). The dental pulp is at the centre of every tooth. It’s a soft area that contains the nerve, connective tissues and blood vessels. These tissues are very important as your teeth start to emerge and come through, but once all of your adult teeth have come through they don’t play as much of a role. The pulps main purpose is to give you sensory feedback for when you come into contact with hot and cold substances.
When cavities appear in our teeth, it means bacteria can start to enter these pockets and attack the sensitive parts of our teeth. Initial cavities may be hard to notice by patients as there may not be any associated pain, and as a rule of thumb, by the time you start to feel pain your dental problem may have moved onto a more complicated stage (but early warning signs can be spotted by dentists).
Why Remove The Pulp?
It’s important to remove the pulp once it has become infected because it will start to breakdown, giving the bacteria the perfect environment to grow at an alarming rate (warm & moist). This infection will develop and can lead to pus filled abscesses, which can be very painful. It is not uncommon also for swelling to appear around the head, face and mouth, which leads to further discomfort and pain. If left untreated, holes can appear on the sides of the tooth which allows the bacteria to seep out into your gums and through your cheeks to your skin, making you sick.
With a root canal we will enter your tooth to clear out the decay (and pulp) and then use a root filling to prevent any further infection (effectively plugging up the holes). Root canals can be a lengthy procedure and the estimated time of the procedure will be dependent on your own individual case and the severity of the decay.
How Can I Prevent Needing a Root Canal?
It is very important that you have a good oral hygiene habit to stop the build-up of bacteria and plaque on your teeth. By thoroughly cleaning your teeth you will reduce the likelihood of tooth decay and cavities. Even though this won’t completely eliminate the chance this can happen, it will improve your overall dental health and will mean you are less likely to have dental problems.
It is recommended you visit your dentist at least twice a year (your dentist may recommend further visits dependent on your dental health), so we can check the health of your mouth and also spot any potential problems with your teeth/gums. The dental check up forms an important part of your overall dental care and can help to prevent dental problems progressing.
Should i Have a Root Canal or Extraction?
We always strive to save natural teeth in the first instances. Depending how severe your tooth is, it might not be savable and then a dental extraction may be required as a last resort (we will discuss with you what this will mean going forward).
Will a Root Canal Hurt?
We will always numb the area we are treating before starting. Because it will be by the nerve of the tooth it is to be expected there will be some slight discomfort. Our dentists will work at a slow pace and ensure that you are happy throughout the procedure and to make sure it is as pain free as possible.
We will place what is known as a rubber dam around the tooth being treated. This will keep the tooth dry during the treatment and prevent you from breathing in or swallowing any of the materials that will be used. We will go through the top of the tooth (crown) to give us access to the soft tissue, and then proceed to remove the remaining infected pulp.
Once cleaned from the infection, we will clean the inside of the tooth and make the hole of the tooth larger in preparation for a root filling (as root canals are difficult to fill). This is the part of the treatment that does take a long time and the exact length of treatment will depend on the tooth being treated. We use special dental files to enlarge the canal to a regular shape so we can then complete a root filling.
Your canine and front incisors usually only have one root canal, where as the back molar and premolars can have two to three root canals. The more root canals there are, the more complex and time consuming the treatment will be. Some root canals may need to be completed over multiple appointments and if this is the case, we will put a medication inside the tooth to kill any remaining bacteria in-between the appointments, and then do a temporary filling for protection.
After you have had a root canal and a root filling, your tooth will not be as strong as it used to be, and can be prone to fracturing, especially if put under a lot of pressure. A dental crown may be recommended to be fitted on top of the tooth for protection.
Book Your Dental Assessment Today
If you are worried you may need a root canal or you have started to experience dental pain, please do not hesitate to call us and book your dental assessment today.