A guide to root canal treatment

Good dental health is essential—and not only for keeping your smile white, as studies have found links between oral plaque and secondary conditions such as heart disease and cancers.

Therefore, maintaining good oral health is vital for a healthier life, but there may be instances where problems occur. For example, in the case of an oral abscess, you will need to seek urgent dental care. But how do dental teams ensure that an abscess doesn’t recur?

Depending on the condition of the tooth, they may offer you a root canal. What is a root canal? Does it hurt? In this article, root canals are explored in more depth, so you can feel more confident if you need this treatment.

What is a root canal?

A root canal is an endodontic treatment. This means it is carried out below the tooth.

In most cases it is used to treat oral abscesses. Root canals have existed for over 100 years in dentistry, and McCrae Dental (or any other dentist Bendigo) can offer this treatment.

They involve drilling down into the tooth to reach the roots, where your dentist will begin removing the infected debris. Once clear, the hole and root are filled with gutta-percha. This is a putty-like substance that will prevent debris or bacteria from accessing the root. Once the tooth is filled, it is topped—usually with a filling or a crown. In some instances, porcelain veneers or composite bonding may also be used, although this is only typical in cases of a very weakened tooth.

Do they cause discomfort?

There is a myth that root canals hurt. This is not the case, as your dental team will make sure you have received a local anesthetic before they begin.

This myth seems to be linked to the discomfort that comes with an oral abscess, which is the leading cause of needing a root canal.

When you are at home, the area under the treated tooth will feel sore and it may feel bruised. This is normal; however, if it remains or worsens, then you need to seek an urgent dental appointment.

Aftercare and prevention

An important point to consider with a root canal is the recurrence of infection. This is statistically unlikely, but if you have twisted roots (which are very common) the chances can heighten.

Signs of reinfection include swelling, discomfort, and the presence of pus. You may also feel generally unwell. If so, seek urgent medical attention.

To prevent further dental infections, aim to attend biannual check-ups with your dentist. The leading cause of infections is extensive decay, which can be spotted and treated before it develops into an infection.

In some cases, infections can occur due to loose or missing fillings, and crowns. Therefore, keep an eye out for loose restoratives. If you spot one, attend your dental surgery as soon as possible.

Final considerations

A root canal is a somewhat invasive procedure, so it is worth knowing how it can impact other potential dental treatments. The only real issue occurs if you want to undertake bleach-based whitening. You will need to wait at least two months after a root canal to do so. This is due to discomfort and potential sensitivity.

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