At Forest Lawn Dental Centre, our entire team is dedicated to easing any anxieties you or your family members may have around dental procedures and are here to walk you through what to expect when getting a root canal at our clinic. If you have any questions about the procedure leading up to your appointment, please don’t hesitate to give us a call to discuss anything we didn’t cover during your consultation. Here are a few commonly asked questions about this type of treatment and what to expect from your visit.
A root canal is a common dental procedure that’s used to treat an abscessed tooth. During the procedure, your dentist will remove infected or inflamed tissue from the interior of a tooth. This tissue, referred to as the pulp, contains nerves and blood vessels that extend to the tips of the tooth roots. A tooth becomes abscessed when the pulp becomes infected. By removing this damaged tissue, a root canal relieves pain, restores the tooth’s health and helps prevent further damage.
When is a root canal necessary?
A root canal is the most effective way to treat an abscessed tooth. Often, the only alternative is to extract the tooth. If left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of your mouth and body, causing potentially severe health problems. An untreated tooth infection will also be painful and elevate the risk of tooth loss.
A tooth can become infected when a cavity or deep crack in your tooth leaves its interior exposed and vulnerable to bacteria. Common signs of an abscessed tooth include:
A root canal may also be necessary to treat a dental emergency such as a severely chipped or broken tooth. If the damage extends to the pulp, your dentist may use a root canal to help prevent an infection and reinforce the tooth.
A root canal treatment is usually completed over the course of one or two appointments. Your dentist will begin by administering an anesthetic to numb the area. Specialized tools will be used to create an opening in the crown of the tooth and remove the infected or inflamed tissue. Your dentist will then flush out and disinfect the pulp chamber.
Once the interior of the tooth is clean, a rubber-like material will be used to fill it and seal the crack against future infection. Your dentist will likely fit the treated tooth with a dental crown to restore its full function and help prevent further damage.
Is a root canal painful?
Before the procedure, your dentist will administer an anesthetic to ensure you don’t feel any pain during the appointment. Once the numbing wears off, the area around the treated tooth will likely be a little tender for a few days. Over-the-counter painkillers are usually sufficient to relieve this discomfort. If you have any concerns about the procedure or want to discuss additional options for sedation to help with anxiety, it’s best to discuss them with your dentist.
Following a root canal procedure, the treated tooth and surrounding tissue will likely be tender for a few days. During this time, it’s best to eat soft food that doesn’t require much chewing. Avoid hard, crunchy and hot food until the tooth heals.
If you have any discomfort following the procedure, then over-the-counter pain medication should be sufficient to treat it. However, if you experience persistent or severe pain afterward, contact us right away.
How can I avoid needing a root canal?
The best way to prevent the need for a root canal is to practise good oral hygiene habits. Brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and flossing daily will help keep your teeth healthy and free of infection.
Additionally, you should get your teeth professionally cleaned and examined twice a year. This will allow your dentist to monitor them for signs of decay and damage. Early treatment of cavities and other problems will significantly reduce the risk of your teeth becoming infected.
At Forest Lawn Dental Centre, we’re dedicated to helping you maintain or restore a healthy smile. Our dental centre provides comprehensive family-friendly dentistry, cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics. For more information about root canals, or to schedule an appointment at our clinic is SE Calgary, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.