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ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
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RECOVERING FROM ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
It’s important to look after your teeth when recovering from root canal treatment.
You should avoid biting on hard foods until your treatment is complete.
After your final treatment, your restored tooth should no longer be painful, although it may feel sore for a few days.
You can take over-the-counter painkillers, to relieve any discomfort.
Return to your dentist if you still have pain or swelling after using painkillers.
In most cases it’s possible to prevent the need for further root canal treatment by:
- keeping your teeth clean
- not eating too much sugary food
- giving up smoking if you smoke
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
Root canal treatment (endodontics) is a dental procedure used to treat infection at the center of a tooth. Root canal treatment is not painful, and it may prevent the need to remove the tooth completely.Why it’s needed
Infection of a tooth’s central canal (the root canal) is caused by bacteria in the mouth.
STRUCTURE OF THE TEETH
A tooth is made up of 2 parts. In the mouth, the crown is the visible portion of the tooth.
A tooth’s root anchors it in place in the jaw bone.
Teeth also consist of:
- enamel – the hard outer coating
- dentine – a softer material that supports the enamel and forms most of the tooth
- cementum – a hard material that coats the root’s surface
- dental pulp – the soft tissue at the centre of the tooth
From the crown to the end of the root, the root canal system contains the dental pulp.
A single tooth can have more than 1 root canal.
WHEN ROOT CANAL TREATMENT IS NEEDED?
Root canal treatment is needed when dental X-rays show that the pulp has been damaged by a bacterial infection.
The pulp may become inflamed if it’s infected by bacteria, allowing the bacteria to multiply and spread.
The symptoms of a pulp infection include:
- pain when eating or drinking hot or cold food and drink
- pain when biting or chewing
- a loose tooth
As the infection progresses, these symptoms often disappear as the pulp dies.
Your tooth then appears to have healed, but the infection has in fact spread through the root canal system.
You eventually get further symptoms such as:
- pain when biting or chewing returning
- swelling of the gum near the affected tooth
- pus oozing from the affected tooth
- a swollen cheek or jaw
- the tooth becoming a darker colour
If you develop toothache, you should visit your dentist. A tooth’s pulp cannot heal on its own if it is infected.
You may make the infection worse by leaving the infected tooth in your mouth.
In addition, if the infection within your tooth becomes established, the root canal treatment may not work.
Infections caused by root canals cannot be treated with antibiotics, a medicine that treats bacterial infections. However, they can help treat swelling caused by infection that spreads beyond the root.
HOW ROOT CANAL TREATMENT IS DONE?
To treat the infection in the root canal, the bacteria need to be removed.
This can be done by either:
- removing the bacteria from the root canal system (root canal treatment)
- removing the tooth (extraction)
But removing the tooth is not usually recommended as it’s better to keep as many of your natural teeth as possible.
Before having root canal treatment, you’ll usually be given a local anaesthetic.
This means the procedure should be painless and no more unpleasant than having a filling.
After the bacteria have been removed, the root canal is filled and the tooth sealed with a filling or crown.
In most cases the inflamed tissue near the tooth will heal naturally.
Root canal treatment is usually successful. In about 9 out of 10 cases a tooth can survive for up to 10 years after root canal treatment.