You visited Deer Park Dental Surgery, and you heard the news you didn’t want to hear – one of your teeth needs a root canal treatment.
And although this news might make you a bit nervous, you can be sure that if we’ve recommended a root canal treatment, it is a necessary step to take for your dental health.
You may have questions, however, and we’re here to help you understand the process. The first thing to understand is that while many people mistakenly fear that a root canal treatment is painful.
In fact, it is a treatment that removes a source of pain or your mouth.
Why might I need a root canal?
Common culprits in the need for root canal treatment include:
- Decay: Tooth decay that has penetrated the outer layers of the teeth causes root canal pain.
- Damage: Cracks or chips in teeth can cause decay, cavities, and root canal pain.
- Disease: Possible causes of infection in tooth pulp include extreme tooth decay, damage to the tooth, large fillings, recent dental work, infection, and chips or cracks in the teeth.
Signs you might need a root canal
Signs of a problem severe enough to require a root canal include:
- Extreme tooth pain when eating or when pressure is applied
- Teeth pain and/or sensitivity to hot or cold that remains after the hot or cold substance is gone from the mouth
- A small, balloon-like bump on the gums near the area of pain
- Darkening of the tooth
- Swelling or tenderness in the gums near the painful tooth
The steps of a root canal procedure are as follows:
Local anesthesia is given, usually by injection, to numb the tooth to be treated and the surrounding tissues. If the tooth-pulp is acutely inflamed, and therefore very painful, it may take a while to go numb, but don’t worry, we won’t begin treatment until you are entirely comfortable.
Isolation. A dental dam is placed to isolate the infected tooth. This thin sheet of rubber or vinyl is placed over the affected and nearby teeth. The tooth being treated protrudes through a hole in the dam, isolating it from the rest of the mouth. The dental dam means root canal treatment can take place in a sterile environment, protected from bacteria in saliva or elsewhere in the mouth.
Drilling. A small access hole is drilled through the biting surface of a back tooth or from behind a front tooth, bringing access to the pulp chamber and root canals for treatment.
Pulp removal. The dead and diseased pulp is removed from the tooth to clean out the pulp chamber and root canals. You won’t feel this, due to the anaesthesia, and once the pulp, which contains the nerves, is gone, the tooth becomes incapable of feeling pain.
Disinfection. The root canals are disinfected with antibacterial and antiseptic solutions.
Shaping & filling. Tooth canals are then shaped with small flexible instruments to allow them to receive root canal fillings and sealers. The canals are washed and cleaned. Fillings are chosen to fit into the freshly shaped and cleaned canals. The filling is usually rubber-like material called gutta-percha. It is heated and compressed into and against the walls of the root canals to seal them. With a sealer, gutta-percha fills the canal space.
Closing. A temporary or permanent filling material is placed to seal the access hole. Sealing the canals is vital to prevent them from becoming reinfected with bacteria. Finally, the dental dam is removed.
Temporary crown. A temporary crown is usually placed over the tooth to seal it and protect it from contamination.
After the procedure, antibiotics may be prescribed for infection. Some minor discomfort after treatment is normal, including minor soreness that can usually be treated with over-the-counter medications. If not, your dentist may prescribe a stronger medicine.
Permanent crown. You will return to get a permanent restoration — a crown or filling — to replace missing tooth structure, and provide a permanent seal to the top of the tooth.
- Anesthesia may cause numbness or disorientation – arrange for a ride home after treatment.
- Avoid chewing food or anything hot until your mouth is no longer numb.
- Get plenty of rest, and avoid strenuous activity. Rest is part of your healing process.
- Take pain medication as prescribed/recommended.
- Take antibiotics as directed, and never miss a dose.
- Eat a diet of soft foods until your dentist instructs you otherwise.
- Continue to brush and floss regularly. Brush very softly, especially near the site of the root canal treatment.
- Call Deer Park Dental Surgery if you’re having swelling, severe pain, bleeding, or any other unusual reactions to the treatment.
Deer Park Dental Surgery Cares!
At Deer Park Dental Surgery, we believe high-quality dental care can only be achieved by placing our customers first.
Our location is convenient- we are located in a busy medical centre in Brimbank Shopping Centre. We also offer Saturday hours, which cater to family needs and busy patients.
Parking is hassle-free.
For more information about root canal, call us on (03) 9360 4417 or visit us at T097a Brimbank Shopping Centre Neale Road in Deer Park.