Root Canal Therapy In-Depth
Many people who have dental issues often get scared at the thought of undergoing a root canal procedure. A root canal is often associated with excruciating pain and cost that can deplete your savings. Despite these negative conceptions about root canal treatment, it can do more good than harm, especially on your overall oral health. This is why Bisson Dentistry is here for you. We offer an array of dental services that cater to your specific dental needs, including root canal treatment. This procedure can help save your teeth from further damage.
Understanding the Anatomy of a Tooth
Our tooth has different parts. For one, the crown is the top part of the tooth that is usually seen in the mouth. It also covers the internal parts of a tooth. Our tooth is covered by a hard-outer coating called enamel. You protect the enamel from bacteria that cause tooth decay by brushing and flossing it. Meanwhile, the dentin supports the enamel and mostly forms the tooth.
The root, on the other hand, helps secure the entire tooth in position, so it does not wobble. The cementum covers the surface of the root. Inside our tooth contains a tissue called the dental pulp, which houses the nerves, blood vessels, and other surrounding tissues. The dental pulp covers the entire root canal system, which extends from the tooth crown up to the end of the root.
What is a root canal treatment?
Before anything else, we must understand what a root canal is all about, how it is done, what to expect during the procedure, possible side effects you may encounter, and how much the entire procedure can cost you.
For starters, a root canal is part of a tooth. The actual dental procedure that involves treating the root canal is called endodontic therapy, from the Greek word endo which means inside and odont which means tooth. In other words, endodontic therapy is a treatment for the inside of the tooth. Bacteria live in our mouths that can cause damage to our teeth, including our root canal system. When the pulp inside our teeth becomes infected, it will eventually die out. Moreover, an infected pulp will not be able to repair itself, that is why is deemed already useless. Bacterial infection in the pulp may either be due to a chipped tooth, dental trauma, such as hitting the tooth on a hard surface, tooth decay and other tooth-related injuries. It will eventually reach into the opening of the root canal. The bacteria will then spread inside the tooth, which can result in unbearable pain and even abscess growth. In most cases, the pain will eventually disappear. However, the infection will have already done its damage, more than you will ever realize.
In this case, a root canal treatment is often recommended to save the tooth instead of extracting it. Aside from removing the infected or dying nerves, it can also help increase the lifespan of the tooth, and improve its biting and chewing capabilities. On the contrary, a tooth extraction can be an alternative and a cheaper option to root canal treatment. However, it can affect your bite, and it can affect the other teeth surrounding the area, which can lead to further complications. A dental implant is also another option if you do not want to undergo a root canal treatment. However, it will not feel as natural as a real tooth.
Signs That a Root Canal Treatment Is Needed
A person suspected of having a pulp infection may experience pain while eating or drinking, and biting or chewing. Particularly, he or she may experience heightened sensitivity to hot and cold food, which can be very unbearable. He or she may also notice a loose tooth in the affected area, as well as discoloration of the affected tooth. In worse scenarios, the person may experience recurring pain in the mouth, swelling gum, the presence of pus around the affected tooth, swollen face or part of the face.
If left untreated, a root canal procedure and antibiotics may not be as effective anymore because apparently, the damage has been done. If you experience any of the above symptoms, have your tooth checked and examined by our dental experts at Bisson Dentistry.
The Root Canal Procedure
The entire root canal therapy takes several sessions to complete. First, the dentist or endodontist will examine and perform an x-ray on the affected tooth. Anesthetics will then be administered around to numb the tooth. Next, a “dental dam” will be placed to separate the tooth. This will keep the tooth clean and saliva-free during the entire procedure. Once the anesthesia takes effect, we will make a small hole in the crown of the tooth. Using small files and irrigation tools, the dentist or endodontist will clean the pulp of any debris and remove the dead tissue inside the tooth. After cleaning the tooth, we will shape the hollow area of the tooth for filling.
We will then fill up space with gutta-percha along with a sealing paste to cover the root canal. On occasion, a temporary filling will be placed instead of gutta-percha to fill up the tooth opening. The temporary filling usually lasts up to a week to monitor any possible recurring infection. The filling will eventually be removed before completing the entire root canal procedure. A crown may also be placed after the extraction of the dead tissue, depending on the preference of the patient. By this time, the patient will not feel any pain anymore because the dead tissue and the infection have already been removed.
Will a root canal treatment hurt?
As already mentioned earlier, most people are afraid to undergo root canal therapy because they expect it to be very painful. That is why they would prefer to have their affected tooth extracted, albeit with some complications and discomfort along the way.
The truth is, the entire endodontic therapy should not hurt because of the administered anesthesia that can help numb the pain. On the other hand, the painful feeling is actually due to the infection from the inflamed pulp and not from the treatment itself. In fact, a root canal treatment can even help relieve the pain caused by the infection.
Of course, it is natural to feel some kind of pain after the procedure. That is why the dentist or endodontist will prescribe over-the-counter or prescription drugs to alleviate the pain. Likewise, an antibiotic will also be prescribed to treat further or prevent the spread of infection.
Road to Recovery
The patient should take care of his or her teeth during the entire recovery period. For one, eating or chewing hard foods should be avoided at all cost until the treatment is deemed complete. The newly-treated tooth is still considered fragile and prone to damage. Practicing good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing your teeth, as well as quitting smoking and regular dental checkups are also highly important during your recovery.
Usually, recovery from the procedure takes around a few days up to several weeks. As mentioned earlier, a patient may feel pain during the first few days post-surgery, but it will eventually subside in the following days or weeks.
During recovery, it is recommended to eat soft and cold foods to prevent having to come back for a tooth repair. Recommended foods to be eaten after a root canal surgery include fruits and fruit smoothies, yogurt, ice cream (minus the nuts and other chunky fruit ingredients), pudding, tofu, soup, mashed potatoes, pasta, and noodles, to name a few. Eating cold and mushy foods can also help alleviate the pain due to swelling, aside from satiating your hunger, of course. As an additional tip, you can also eat your food on the other side of your mouth that is untouched by the surgery. Also, avoid hot drinks and food while recovering from the operation. Lastly, eat and chew your food slowly.
Risks and Complications
Although a root canal procedure is one of the most invasive treatments there is, it boasts of a high success rate. In fact, it is said that around 85 percent of root canal treatments can last up to 10 years, as long as the patient takes care of his or her oral health. However, like any other medical procedures, a root canal treatment can have possible underlying risks and complications. For one, any decay in some of the root canals may not be noticed immediately by Dr. Bisson, which would later show the same symptoms and worsen the condition your tooth if left untreated.
Another possible risk during the treatment includes small debris occurred during the drilling process that had unknowingly been stuck within the treated area. As a result, it can again lead to pain and discomfort. Thus, we have to reexamine the tooth to determine whether it can be fixed or removed entirely. However, it depends on the cause and the extent of the infection. Furthermore, gum infection may also occur, which cannot be detected immediately by an x-ray. Also, dental trauma due to the nerve removal may also occur. Fractures after the root canal procedure such as crown breakage may also occur at some point due to constant biting or chewing on hard food. Aside from that, a defective filling and sealing are also possible, although these are rare cases.
In some cases, though, a tooth cannot be saved anymore, either because the root canal is inaccessible for some reason, the root is severely damaged, the tooth lacks bone support, or the tooth cannot be restored regardless of any treatment.
Cost of Root Canal Treatment
The cost of dental treatment such as a root canal procedure varies per dental practitioner. The cost is usually based on the duration of the entire procedure, as well as the restorative work that needs to be done on the affected tooth.
Typically, a root canal procedure can cost around $500 and $1,000 for incisors. For molars, it can cost around $800 to $1,500, but the rates can go up as high as an additional 50 percent of the average cost, depending on the dentist or endodontist. In other words, most dentists and endodontists will not provide you an exact price for the treatment unless extensive examination has been made. However, if you wish to have your tooth checked for a possible root canal treatment and so you can prepare for your budget, you can contact Bisson Dentistry for your concerns.
For Your Dental Needs, Feel Free to Contact Bisson Dentistry
With all the above information, we hope you have a renewed understanding of how a root canal treatment works. To sum it up, root canal treatment is a great option for treating your tooth.
While a root canal treatment may be necessary for better oral health, prevention is still better than cure, so as they say. Thus, it is important to understand how important taking care of our oral health is.
Who does not like to have beautiful teeth? Like having beautiful skin, a healthy, if not close to perfect, set of teeth will help you appreciate and enjoy life. Plus, you can make other people happy once you flash your beautiful smile. In other words, sound oral health can indeed make a difference in your life!
Bisson Dentistry is here to cater to your dental needs. We offer various products and services that suit your dental needs. We also ensure that we only use the latest technology in the dental industry for all of our procedures.
If you are within Guelph or nearby areas, give us a call or visit our office to learn more about our root canal treatment service, and let our accommodating, dedicated, and highly-skilled dentists who have been in the industry for decades assist you with your options and other inquiries at (226) 299-0713.