So, you’ve been told you need a root canal, and a quick Google on your phone has left you scared and concerned, well in this guide we’ll take a look at what exactly a root canal procedure is and provide you with everything you need to know and should be asking your dentist about regarding your root canal treatment.
What exactly is root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment is a dental procedure which is needed to stop infection inside your tooth tissue, prevent infection spreading to other structures in the body and to ultimately preserve the tooth in the mouth. By the time a root canal procedure is required it is accepted that the nerve of the tooth has “died”, usually due to extensive decay but sometimes due to traumatic injury or other causes and the only other alternative is to extract the tooth.
I know that may sound scary, but don’t worry, as root canal treatment is a standard and relatively common procedure and one the expert dental team here at Oasis Dental are used to performing.
In nearly all cases following root canal treatment, a crown may be required. A dental crown is a rigid covering which is fitted to the tooth to help protect and preserve the structural integrity of your tooth and allow you to use it as you would normally.
Now let’s take a look at what you should be asking yourself and your dentist both prior and after your root canal procedure.
5 Things to ask your Dentist
How do you know I need a root canal?
Like many other diagnoses, the dentist will need to do a clinical examination and take a full history to determine if the pulp inside the tooth is infected and if a root canal treatment is indicated.
There are a number of things your dentist will use to decide on if you do require a root canal these may include
– A key sign of the health of the pulp in your tooth is whether you feel lingering pain after exposing it to hot or cold temperatures. If, the pain lingers, long after the stimulus is removed then this may indicate to your your dentist that the pulp is infected and that the nerve that feeds into your tooth is not responding normally and starting to “die off” or partly dead already.
– The identification of an abscess is a clear sign of an infection. This can be seen clinically as swelling on the gum at the side of the tooth or the whole face may appear swollen and inflamed. In addition, later on some changes may also be seen on the Xray at the base of the tooth.
Do I need a root canal now or can I wait?
As we mentioned earlier, a quick google and poor dental advice can leave people scared of the thought of a root canal, but waiting and putting of such a procedure can be a dangerous thing to do. The need for a root canal, comes because of an infection within the tissue of your teeth, as with any infection, this can spread and potentially infect more vulnerable tissue such as the heart, lungs or brain. In this day and age antibiotics help to control the spread of infection but the cure will only come if the tooth is extracted or if a root canal procedure is done. So this cannot be delayed indefinitely and treatment should be carried out as soon as the diagnosis has been made. The prognosis for keeping the tooth goes up the quicker the procedure is carried out.
Do I need a root canal, or can I have an implant?
Should you decide to opt for extracting the tooth then a dental implant is one way to potentially fill the missing space.
A common statistic used regarding the success of root canals is that only a 85% – 95% success rate can be guaranteed, this is due to the complex canal system within the teeth. Success varies depending on the condition of the tooth at the start and each case is different. The decision to extract and replace with an implant versus preserving the tooth with a root canal treatment and a crown, should always be discussed on a case by case basis.
Both options are valid and the team of Dr King and Dr Miller-Wojtan are always happy to discuss with you in detail the pros and cons of both, referring to your personal case.
What should I expect during the root canal procedure?
The first thing you should expect is not to feel any pain what-so-ever during the procedure, as your dentist will ensure to apply the local anaesthetic to completely numb all pain, if you can still feel anything as your dentist begins to perform the root canal, you shouldn’t feel afraid of speaking up and letting them know, so that they can apply more anaesthetic, and you can feel pain free during the procedure.
After successfully ensuring you can’t feel anything, your dentist will proceed with the root canal procedure. This may take a longer visit of about 1 hour or sometimes can take two separate visits depending on the complexity of the case. The treatment is essential very similar to having an ordinary filling and the tooth will look no different afterwards.
What should I know for after my root canal?
After your root canal, your dentist will want to get you booked in for the fitting of your dental crown. We usually wait a few weeks to ensure that the tooth is symptom-free, during which time you will have a temporary filling in place and need to avoid putting any heavy biting forces on the tooth as it will be susceptible to fractures.
After the root canal procedure, you may feel some painAnd if this occurs it tends to be 12 to 24 hours following the treatment and you should feel comfortable in taking any pain medication you may require. If treatment is successful this pain will eventually completely disappear.
We hope this guide has put your mind at ease regarding the root canal procedure you may be in need of, and has given you an idea of some of the things you should discuss and ask with your dentist, prior to your procedure. If you’d like any more information on root canal procedures that we provide here at Oasis Dental, Marbella, then please feel free to give us a call or contact us through our website.