plastic model of a tooth showing the inner components

Understanding Root Canal Therapy

A root canal is a dental procedure that can be used to treat an abscessed tooth.

Specifically, the treatment involves the removal of infected tooth pulp. This pulp is a soft tissue made up of blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. A fully developed tooth can survive without its pulp, as it can receive nourishment from surrounding tissue.

 

How do you know if you need a root canal?

The following symptoms could be a sign of an infected tooth and signal the need for a root canal:

  • Severe tooth pain
  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Swelling in the gums
  • Tender gums
  • Discolouration of the tooth
  • A pimple on the gums

 

What does a root canal involve?

To treat a patient’s abscessed tooth, the dentist first needs to remove the infected tooth pulp. This is done by creating an opening on top of the tooth with a tiny drill and then removing the infected tissue. Once the hole has been thoroughly cleaned, it’s filled with a rubber-like material, then covered with a temporary crown. A few weeks after the procedure, the dentist will fit the tooth with a permanent crown.

A root canal can be a bit uncomfortable, but should cause little pain. A local anesthetic is administered at the outset to numb the tooth. On average, the procedure takes 90 minutes.

 

How should you prepare for a root canal?

Your dentist will give you directions to follow in the days leading up to your root canal. For example, you have to avoid drinking and smoking 24 hours before the procedure, and it’s advised that you eat a full meal just prior to your appointment, since your mouth will be numb for several hours after the procedure.

 

What kind of aftercare is needed?

For the first few days after the root canal, you’ll need to stick to soft foods. You may experience mild pain for the first 48 hours or so and the tooth will be tender for a week or two. Over-the-counter pain medication should be sufficient to quell any discomfort.

The procedure is successful in most cases and with proper care (i.e. regular brushing, flossing and visits to the dentist), the treated tooth can last a lifetime.

 

Root Canal Therapy In Calgary

If you think you may require a root canal, turn to the experienced team at Forest Lawn Dental Centre. In addition to providing family dentistry services, we offer emergency dental care. Contact us today to book an appointment with an experienced dentist in Calgary.

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