Root Canal Treatment: Myths and Reality

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Not so long ago, the teeth affected by a pulp disease were removed. Today, root canal treatment is a rescuing alternative that helps save the teeth that otherwise would be lost. Root canal treatment cures the tooth from inside and eradicates the infection of a tooth pulp. The main goal of this treatment is to save a tooth and reduce chances of future complications.

How Can You Tell if You Need a Root Canal Treatment or Is It Just a Cavity?

Sometimes, it is difficult to understand if you have just a cavity or need a root canal treatment. The main symptoms indicating that you need a root canal treatment are: a severe toothache usually accompanied with jaw swelling or an abscess. This usually happens when your tooth pulp, a soft tissue inside the tooth, contains an infection. You may need root canal treatment if you experience a toothache randomly, meaning that your tooth hurts not only when you eat or drink, but when you are watching TV, reading, etc. Another symptom is increasing tooth sensitivity with the cold feeling better than hot. In order to cure the tooth, your pulp is removed and the tooth is cured from bacteria. Then, you will need a crown or other prosthesis fit over the cure tooth. Here, we list some of the main symptoms of a pulp infection:

  • Severe spontaneous toothache
  • Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Gum swelling over the infected tooth
  • Abscess of the infected tooth
  • High temperature, fever
  • Swollen jaw and glands
  • Bitter taste in the mouth

How Long Does It Take to Have a Root Canal Done?

The time of having your root canal done varies depending on the canals’ length, complexity and the number of roots. Each tooth has a specific number of roots. In case you need a treatment of a root canal on the front tooth, it has one root. This is valid for all four front teeth and canines adjacent to those teeth. Root canal treatment typically includes two appointments. At first visit to a dentist, your tooth is examined and X-rayed carefully to see the problem; then, the nerve is extracted, the canal is cleaned and a temporary filling is placed in the tooth. After that, you should wait until your tooth becomes free of any bacteria. At your second appointment, a temporary filling is taken and a permanent one is sealed to the root canal. Discuss with your dentist how long the procedure could take in your specific case and if there are any alternative ways to solve your problem.

Root Canal or Pull Tooth, What Is More Painful?

In most cases, root canal treatment doesn’t cause pain. It may hurt only if you have a severe abscess. An abscess creates an acid environment which sometimes may be difficult to anesthetize. The root canal treatment can be uncomfortable only because you have to sit in the dentist chair for a long time. Extraction of your molar is much more uncomfortable and traumatic and can’t substitute a root canal. When it is possible to save your natural tooth, one shouldn’t relish the opportunity to do it. Moreover, a tooth extraction can cause bone grafting and problems with neighboring teeth.

Can a Tooth that Has Had a Root Canal Still Cause a Toothache?

Being a relatively simple procedure, normally, root canal treatment causes no or a little discomfort. But, in some cases, a tooth that has undergone root canal treatment can be still problematic. Some soreness and discomfort in the mouth is considered to be normal. The state of your tooth after a root canal treatment depends greatly on whether you have an infection present and your pain threshold. However, if you continue to experience severe pain, swelling or have bleeding longer than a few days after the procedure, you should visit your dentist. Even if you feel good, the regular dental checkups are neccessary, as a tooth without a nerve can still have gum disease or cavities.

Severe Pain and Gums’ Swelling after a Root Canal Treatment, What Could Be the Problem?

Some pain and sensitivity after a root canal treatment is normal, and you may need some medication a few days after a procedure. But, if the pain persists you should immediately contact your dentist. The pain could be indicative of:

  • Inflammation

Inflammation of soft tissues around the tooth that have been cured is the most common source of toothache after root canal treatment. The dentists can do their best trying to avoid the complications, however, they are not always preventable.

  • Infection

Sometimes, it is possible that a root canal treatment could activate the bacteria within a tooth. In this case, a pain reliever can help to overcome the pain and feel more comfortable until the infection ceases.

  • Undetected Root Canal

Some teeth have several root canals which can be left undetected and undertreated during a root canal therapy. To obtain good results all canals should be cured of infection, otherwise, you could experience pain and swelling. Your dentist should help you understand the reason of continuing toothache and, if needed, prescribe a new treatment plan.

What Are the Possible Complications of Pulp Infection?

If you delay your treatment, the pulp infection can spread and eventually cause an endodontic abscess. Moreover, when the pulp is infected, the pulp tissue dies and the whole tooth or even a part of a bone jaw could be lost.

What Are the Advantages of a Root Canal Treatment?

The main advantage of a root canal therapy is that it helps save your natural tooth. After the treatment, you will be able to efficiently chew, bite and sense the taste. What is just as important is that a root canal protects the remaining teeth form strain and damage. The treatment saves a natural look of the teeth and makes them last as long as your original teeth.

How Bad Does Root Canal Treatment Hurt?

If performed competently, root canal treatment is a pain-free therapy with the use of local anesthesia. If,for some reason, a full anesthesia cannot be achieved, you should consider other options such as advanced sedation or stronger numbing techniques. One of the most common reasons for pain occurring during the procedure is an acute abscess. Note, that it easier to prevent pain then make it go away when is has already started. Usually, it is recommended to take ibuprofen or something similar before the local anesthesia. Ask your dentist which painkiller is best for you.

Are There Any Side Effects of Root Canal Treatment?

The most common side effect of root treatment is dull pain and discomfort, especially when you try to bite. However, it usually disappears within 2 days. If toothache persists for more than a few days, then an additional treatment is needed. Root canal treatment can cause tooth discoloration which can be reduced by whitening or applying a crown or veneer.

Should I Drive after Having a Root Canal Treatment Done?

If you have a local anesthetic you can drive after the procedure, but it always depends on your emotional state. If you have fear of dentists and feel nervous about the procedure, maybe, it is better to have a driver to take you home. Moreover, the procedure is very time-consuming and you can feel very tired after it. The driver or taxi are also needed in case you are undergone a general numbing.

Why Root Canal Treatment Is Better than Implants?

In the past dentists did their best to save a patient’s tooth with a root canal treatment.Today, with the invention of implants, the situation has changed. The most conservative way to save a tooth is root canal treatment. If a tooth has a strong bone support and good tooth structure, then root canal treatment is an adequate choice. Moreover, root canal therapy has about 90% of success rate and is the most predictable. However, if the tooth is too damaged, has a deeply infected root canal and is problematic to be restored, the preference should be given to the implant. Discuss all the possible options, risks and benefits with your dentist.

Internal Tooth Bleaching after a Root Canal Treatment: Is It Considered Very Safe? Any Risk?

There is no relation between tooth bleanching and root canal treatment, however, it is recommended to do whitening after a root canal therapy. Internal bleaching is performed in teeth with no-vital pulps. The procedure involves placing an oxidizing agent in a tooth. The agent is left in the tooth about two weeks and then can be replaced with more chemicals until the desired whiteness is achieved. After the whitening is finished, the hole is filled, leaving you with white natural smile.

Do Root Canals Involve Drills?

In the beginning of a root canal therapy, a small drill is used to access the pulp and clean the tooth from infection. Since you are numb, the procedure should be painless for you. Moreover, for more comfortable experience, you can wear headphones and listen to your favorite music.

How Does Root Canal Treatment Treat Cavities?

Usually, a tooth that needs root canal treatment is hollowed out by large cavities. That is why before cleaning a root canal, the dentist remove cavity first. After the treatment, the tooth needs a restoration to reinforce weak tooth shell that remains.

Root Canal Procedure

Root canal treatment involves several stages. On the first appointment, the tooth is examined and x-rayed to understand the problem, see the number and length of the roots. After that, the nerve is taken out and the canal are undergone a thorough cleaning and disinfection. In case you still have some infection left in your tooth, the dentist will use a temporary filling material to cure it. A few weeks or month are required to free your tooth from bacteria. On the second visit, the temporary filling is removed and a permanent rubbery filling is put into an infection-free root canal. Then, a crown or other restoration is placed on the tooth. The procedure of root canal cleaning is done under the local anesthesia.

Do the Tooth Need a Special Care after the Treatment?

After the first stage of treatment procedure, you shouldn’t chew or bite on the treated tooth until all treatment is completed. During the first few days after the procedure your teeth could be sensitive. This discomfort can be relieved with certain over-the-counter medications. As soon as you have your tooth restored, you should treat it as your natural one. Practice proper oral hygiene (brushing, flossing) and don’t forget about regular dental checkups.

Are There Any Alternatives to Root Canal Treatment?

The only alternative to a root canal treatment is a tooth extraction, followed by placing an implant, denture or bridge. These procedures are usually more expansive and requires more time to prepare and perform. If you just have your tooth replaced without any restoration, a tooth chewing function will impair and teeth could shift.

How Long Do Root Canals Last?

Root canals have over 90% of successful rate and if properly cared can last a lifetime. To assure a tooth strength after a root canal therapy, you should have a permanent restoration. A tooth that had a root canal treatment still may suffer from a cavity. To avoid this, maintain teeth hygiene, brush and floss your teeth regularly.
Article Source:
Author: Alice Sava

Root Canal Treatment: Myths and Reality

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