While many patients feel anxiety when they find out that they need root canal treatment, this tooth-saving procedure has an unfair reputation because of the symptoms associated with infection.
Root canals can save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted due to an infection inside the tooth or near the root tip.
How to Know if a Root Canal Is Necessary
To determine the appropriate treatment, a dental exam is necessary. Some common symptoms are associated with the need for a root canal, however, and can indicate the presence of an infection.
- Swelling of the face, neck or jaw
- Toothache and pain
- Sensitivity to heat or cold
- Pain with pressure
- Discolouration of the tooth
- A small fissure on the gums
- Foul taste in the mouth
As with most infections, symptoms can come and go and sometimes worsen with time. Toothaches associated with infection rarely resolve on their own and require treatment from a qualified dentist or endodontist.
While extraction is an option, saving a natural tooth is often the most conservative approach to protect the oral health and function of teeth.
X-rays and vitality testing will determine if the need for a root canal exists.
What to Expect during the Root Canal Procedure
Our dentists will anaesthetise the tooth before beginning the root canal process. After making a small access point in the tooth, the dentist will clean out the bacteria, infection and diseased tissue, including the nerve fibre.
At St Mark Dental and Medical Group, we use rotary instruments to remove the pulp from inside the root canals and to polish the canal’s internal walls.
Medication, which your dentist will place inside the tooth, assists with healing. The canal will be filled to prevent re-infection. A temporary filling will seal the tooth during the healing process, which typically takes a week or two.
It is normal for some residual discomfort or sensitivity to remain for several days. If pain worsens, please contact the dental surgery.
A follow-up exam with the dentist will ensure that the infection has dissipated, and they will recommend a dental restoration to seal the tooth. In most cases, a dental crown will provide the greatest protection to the root canal-treated tooth.
Because the nerve and blood supply has been removed, root canal teeth tend to become more brittle and prone to damage. A dental crown will encase the entire tooth structure and absorb much of the force of chewing.
If root canal treatment is not an option, extraction followed by a dental implant or bridge provides an alternative.
Are You Experiencing a Dental Emergency?
Our Wolli Creek and Monterey dental clinics strive to treat dental emergencies quickly, especially if they are painful. Please contact us if you need an emergency dental appointment.
All treatment carries risks. Individual consultation is required with one of our practitioners to ensure that the treatment is right for you.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner. Contact us for more information. Rebates may vary depending on your individual health fund.