What is Root Canal Treatment?

Root canal treatment, which is also referred to as endodontics, is a dental procedure utilised to treat infections that affect the root canal system of a tooth. These infections commonly occur when oral bacteria invade the tooth, often due to factors such as tooth decay, defective fillings, or tooth trauma caused by accidents or falls.

At first, the infection may not cause any discomfort. However, in some cases, the affected tooth may darken in color, indicating potential nerve damage or decay, which may require the need for root canal treatment.

When is Root Canal Treatment needed?

Root canal treatment becomes necessary when dental X-rays reveal damage to the tooth pulp caused by a bacterial infection. If infected, the pulp can deteriorate, leading to symptoms such as pain when consuming hot or cold food, discomfort when biting or chewing, and tooth looseness. As the infection progresses, these symptoms may temporarily subside as the pulp dies, giving a false impression of improvement. However, the infection may have spread through the root canal system.

Eventually, pain during biting or chewing returns, accompanied by gum swelling near the affected tooth, pus discharge, facial swelling, or tooth discoloration. It is crucial to visit a dentist when experiencing toothache, as an infected tooth will not heal on its own. Delaying treatment may reduce the chances of successful root canal treatment if the infection becomes established within the tooth.

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Treatment Process

Root canal treatment is a meticulous procedure to eliminate bacteria from the tooth, often requiring multiple dental visits. Tooth extraction is a last resort, as preserving natural teeth is preferred. After removing the bacteria, the tooth is sealed with a filling or crown. Inflammation around the tooth usually heals naturally.

Local anesthesia is administered to ensure a painless experience. During the first appointment, the infected area is removed, allowing for abscess drainage. The root canal is thoroughly cleaned, shaped, and temporarily filled. The tooth is left to settle. At a later visit, the dentist assesses the tooth and applies a permanent filling if the infection has cleared.

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Root Canal Treatment FAQs

What should I do after I have had a root canal treatment?

Maintaining proper dental care is crucial during the recovery from root canal treatment. Avoid biting on hard foods until the treatment is fully completed. After the treatment, you will receive specific instructions for tooth care. While the tooth may be sensitive for a few days, it should not be painful. Over-the-counter pain relievers like paracetamol or ibuprofen can help alleviate discomfort. If pain or swelling persists, contact the dental practice to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Good oral hygiene, moderating sugary food intake, and quitting smoking (if applicable) can help prevent future root canal treatments.

Can a tooth which has been root filled be whitened?

Sometimes. It is not uncommon for dead teeth to go discoloured after a root filling. If this has happened, please call the front desk team and make an appointment to speak to your dentist.

How painful is root canal treatment?

In some cases, dead teeth may become discolored after a root filling. If this occurs, please contact the front desk team to schedule an appointment with your dentist for further evaluation and discussion.If you notice discoloration in your teeth after a root filling, it is important to contact the front desk team and arrange an appointment with your dentist for a thorough evaluation and further discussion.