What to Expect During Your Root Canal Treatment?

Image of Root Canal treatment

A root canal is a commonly performed dental procedure that aims to save an infected or inflamed tooth instead of extracting it. If the soft pulp tissue inside your tooth becomes irritated, inflamed, or infected, it can cause severe pain and lead to dental abscesses or tooth loss. Root canal treatment disinfects the hollows within your tooth and allows you to keep the natural tooth in place. Here’s what you need to know about the causes, procedure, aftercare, and costs of root canal therapy.

The Root Canal Procedure Step-by-Step

Though the idea of a root canal sounds painful, you’ll be numbed with local anaesthesia so you don’t feel discomfort during the procedure. Here’s what to expect at your appointment:

  • Numbing and Isolation

Your dentist will first numb the area around the affected tooth with an injection of lidocaine. Once the area is fully anesthetized, a rubber dam is placed to isolate the tooth. This protects it from saliva and bacteria during treatment.

  • Accessing the Pulp Chamber

A small opening is made through the top of the tooth to reach the pulp chamber inside. Your dentist will use dental instruments to remove all infected or dead pulp tissue gently.

  • Cleaning and Disinfecting the Canals

Tiny root canal files are inserted into the tooth roots to scrub the entire length of the canals. Solutions are used to rinse and disinfect the hollowed spaces thoroughly. Lasers or ultrasounds may also be used to purge bacteria.

  • Filling and Sealing the Roots

Once the canals are fully cleaned, the space is sealed with an inert rubbery material to prevent recontamination. A temporary filling is placed over the access hole.

  • Restoring the Tooth with a Dental Crown

In a follow-up visit 1-2 weeks later, a custom dental crown is designed to cover the tooth and restore its structure, strength, and function. The crown helps prevent future cracking or fractures. The procedure generally takes 1-2 hours per tooth, depending on the tooth complexity. Front teeth have a single root, while back molars can have two to four roots. Your dentist will take periapical X-rays during treatment to thoroughly clean and fill the canals. You should feel minimal to no pain during the procedure with proper numbing.

What to Expect After Your Root Canal?

  • Temporary numbness

The anesthetic can leave your lips, teeth, or tongue feeling numb for several hours afterward. Avoid chewing until the sensation returns to prevent biting your cheeks or lips.

  • Slight soreness

You may have minor soreness in the area that feels like a standard toothache. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help relieve post-procedure discomfort.

  • Dental crown

You’ll return to the office around two weeks later to have the permanent dental crown cemented into place for optimal function and aesthetics.

How to Care for Your Tooth After a Root Canal

Good at-home care ensures your root canal therapy is successful. Be sure to:

  • Take any prescribed antibiotics to clear the final infection
  • Rinse with warm salt water to keep the area clean
  • Avoid chewing hard foods on the treated tooth until you receive the crown
  • Brush and floss gently around the area to maintain good oral hygiene
  • See your dentist promptly if you have any concerns of continuing infection

Root Canal Success Rates

With current technologies and dental techniques, initial success rates for root canal therapy are around 95%. However, reinfection is possible years later if the tooth crown or sealant leaks. A retreat of the original root canal may be required if an infection recurs. To maintain your restored tooth, be sure to have regular dental exams and alert your dentist to any recurring pain or swelling.

Paediatric Root Canals for Children’s Oral Health

Root canals are sometimes necessary for children if trauma or decay has killed the tooth pulp. Paediatric specialists use child-friendly techniques to reduce anxiety and discomfort. The procedure is similar to adult treatment but may require general anaesthesia. Young teeth have wider canals and pulp chambers that need special tools. Follow-up visits utilize stainless steel crowns to protect the tooth structure.

Maintaining oral health from a young age prevents future problems. Teach children proper twice-daily brushing and flossing, regular dental cleanings every six months, and prompt care for injuries. Limit sugary snacks and drinks that promote decay. Getting cavities filled early and protecting teeth from trauma prevents the need for root canals.

Bottom Line

See your dentist immediately if you are experiencing severe tooth sensitivity or pain. The sooner you can treat an infected pulp; the better chance you have of saving your natural tooth through root canal therapy. Avoid needless extraction and implants by taking action at the first signs of trouble.

For affordable and gentle care from an experienced dentist, choose Baywaters Dentist. Their state-of-the-art procedures and caring manner put patients at ease through even complex treatments like root canals. Their high success rate and painless techniques make root canal therapy effective and tolerable. Contact them today to schedule an evaluation.