If you have recently suffered from a dental infection it is probable that your dental team will want you to have a root canal performed.
But if you are like most dental patients, this idea will not exactly thrill you and you may be more in favour of having the entire tooth removed! However, the dislike of root canals is usually due to a lack of information about them and any dentist Wagga will tell you that there are many advantages to having a root canal performed over a dental extraction.
In this short guide endodontics concerning root canals will be explored and you can decide whether or not it is the right treatment option for you when recovering from a dental infection.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is a common procedure in endodontics.
This treatment has existed in dental care for over 100 years and in that time has saved countless teeth and smiles.
In essence, it removes the source of an infection from a tooth and seeks to restore the tooth to its former strength.
How is it performed?
Before you have a root canal fitted, your dental team will need to take an X-ray of your jaw. This will be to determine where the infection is located, the extent of the infection and, if it is a molar tooth, how many of the roots are infected.
Once all of this has been determined, your dental team will numb the area with a local anaesthetic and begin drilling into the root of your tooth using a very thin drill.
When the root is accessed, they will use a set of dental brushes to remove the source of the infection and the pulp. This process is very delicate and can take up to 30 minutes per root.
Once they are happy that the area is clean, they will begin filling it with the substance known as gutta-percha. This will prevent any reinfection and will, in essence, strengthen the tooth from within. The access hole is then covered with either a filling or crown and the tooth may also have a veneer placed onto it to offer additional support.
There is no specific aftercare required once you have had an endodontic treatment, but the area may be sore for a few days.
Simply attend dental check-ups every six months so your dentist can keep an eye on the tooth and ensure that decay does not set in around the access point.
Assuming you stick to the aftercare, your root canal should last the rest of your life without recurrence of infection or any further problems. You may actually forget which tooth has had the procedure altogether!
Other procedures and root canals
If you are eager to have your teeth whitened, you will need to wait around 2 months after a root canal to have this performed. This is so the surrounding area and the gums can heal fully without causing discomfort to you.
You can also have your teeth straightened using a brace or aligner if you have had a root canal fitted. Other procedures such as the fitting of dental implants next to the tooth that has a root canal will not cause an issue with either procedure.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.