Have your teeth been giving you trouble lately? Perhaps you can no longer have coffee or ice cream without feeling pain. Some teeth might feel sore when touched, and you might see swelling in the gums near the offending area. All signs point to you requiring endodontic treatment – more commonly known as a root canal. While this is a term that fills most people with dread, learning what causes it and how much the procedure has advanced will give you the confidence to book an appointment with your dentist.
- Causes of root canal pain
Unchecked damage, disease and decay can erode the outer layers of your teeth, causing your inner tooth pulp and roots to become exposed and infected. When this happens, the exposed nerve will cause discomfort until the infected pulp is removed and a crown or restoration is placed over it. Once this is done you’ll be able to eat, bite and chew freely as you did before.
Many things can lead to you needing a root canal treatment, but only a dentist will be able to tell you exactly what you can do. Diagnosis is usually done with an X-ray, and if it indicates that treatment is needed, your dentist will discuss your options with you before proceeding.
- What’s the procedure like?
An emergency root canal may require two or more visits depending on the complexity of the case and the infection. Your tooth’s crown will be opened, and the infected pulp removed. The resulting gap will be cleaned and shaped before being filled with cementing material. At this point, you might need to get a crown or complex restoration to protect your tooth and prevent fracturing.
- Don’t delay treatment!
Most people are more apprehensive about the root canal itself than the actual inflamed tooth. This is because, in the past, root canals had a reputation for being drawn out and very painful. Like all dental services, it’s very different today compared to what it was like years ago. The actual procedure doesn’t take very long and is only performed under anaesthetic. Once the procedure is over, you might feel some pain while it heals, but it will be nowhere as bad as how you felt before your treatment.