Root Canal Treatment
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
Root canal treatment includes removing the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleaning and shaping the inside of the canal, creating a channel inside the root, and then filling and sealing the space. Afterwards, you need to return to your dentist, who will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.
When is Root Canal Treatment Necessary?
The root canal treatment becomes necessary when the pulp tissue of the tooth becomes either infected or inflamed and needs to be removed.
This may be due to the affected tooth experiencing either
i) deep decay that has reached the pulp;
ii) trauma that caused the tooth to be cracked or fractured;
iii) severe gum disease (periodontitis)
iv) exposure of the dentine & enamel due to excessive wear-and-tear
Signs of pulp damage may include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discolouration of the tooth, swelling, tenderness of the overlying gums or a bad taste in the mouth. On the other hand, there may be no symptoms at all. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can eventually cause pain, swelling and loss of the supporting bone.
Removal of the infected or inflamed pulp is the first step in saving the tooth. Under local anesthetic, an opening is made in the crown of the tooth to get access to the infected or inflamed pulp within.
Using small, specially designed hard or rotary files, the root canals are cleaned and shaped to a form that can be sealed. Debris with the canal is removed by flushing with an anti-bacterial solution.
The canals are finally filled or sealed with an inert material called gutta-percha. The tooth should be restored to full shape and function by either a permanent filling or a crown, depending on how much of the tooth is left. This should be done as soon as possible as there could be a risk of tooth fracture due to biting forces.
All root canal treatment procedures are done by isolating the tooth with a rubber dam to provide a clean and saliva-free environment. Root canal treatment may be done in single or multiple visits depending on tooth complexity. In between treatment appointments, medicament may be placed within the canals and the tooth is covered with a temporary filling.
Often, X-rays are taken to determine the length of the root and to monitor the various treatment stages.
The root canal procedure is not claimable by Medisave. However, holders of the CHAS Blue / Orange or the Pioneer Generation (PG) cards can receive government subsidies of up to $266.50.
Q – Is Root Canal Treatment painful?
Root canal treatments are generally painless as the area around the affected tooth is anaesthetized prior to the root canal treatment.
We can also expect the tooth and the surrounding areas to be a little more sensitive and tender brought by the inflammation of the surrounding tissue which would gradually subside over a couple of days.
During this time we can ease the discomfort by prescribing some mild analgesics or painkillers such as paracetamol.
In the event of the discomfort or pain persisting or worsening (ie: pain becomes more unbearable or swelling worsens), please contact us as soon as possible
Q – What are the Advantages of Root Canal Treatment?
• Preserves the tooth
• Reduces your pain and discomfort
• Restores your smile
• Prevent the infection from worsening
What to Expect after Root Canal Treatment
After undergoing root canal treatment, you should follow your doctor’s instructions on the following:
• Avoid any chewing until numbness has completely worn off.
• It is normal for your tooth to be sore for 2-3 days after treatment. It may actually become sorer on the second day. Tenderness to biting may persist for up to two weeks following treatment but will gradually get better over time.
• Generally, Ibuprofen (Naproxen/ Ibuprofen) is all that is needed for post-operative soreness. We strongly recommend that you take 400mg (two over-the-counter 200mg tablets) of Ibuprofen every six hours for two days, unless you have an allergy or sensitivity to Ibuprofen. At this dosage Ibuprofen has excellent anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a good idea to take the Ibuprofen even if the tooth is not sore to help prevent soreness in the next few days.
• If antibiotics have been prescribed, it’s important that you take them for the full length of time indicated on the prescription, even if all signs of infection are gone.