It’s a long way to go before we have to say goodbye to a tooth and need a replacement. The final step, tooth extraction, is usually the result of prolonged neglect and postponement of treatment, so it doesn’t happen overnight. However, tooth extraction is easy to avoid if you get it right early. This is what root canal treatment was invented for, which, contrary to popular belief, is no more painful than a simple filling. So there’s no need to fear!
When do you need a root canal treatment?
There are several common symptoms to be suspicious of: from toothache when eating, to tooth sensitivity and discoloured, browning teeth, to gingivitis. The most common warning sign, however, is the painful cracking of the teeth without any stimuli or external influence. Unless you’re a masochist and want to suffer for weeks, you should definitely see a dentist. Unfortunately, the problem cannot be solved at home.
But what is the cause of the pain? Mostly it’s inflammation of the periodontium, caused by deep, decayed decay and the resulting bacterial overgrowth, which is now attacking the root canal. If left untreated, this can lead to infection of the tissues and even unsightly and painful abscesses.
In addition to inflammation, problems can also be caused by injury, such as a broken tooth during sports or eating. Root canal treatment may also be necessary if you have overgrown fillings or if you have had a series of serious dental procedures.
The key to prevention, like other diseases affecting teeth, is good oral care. To make sure we clean our teeth properly every day, it’s safest to learn the technique directly from the dentist. A dental hygiene treatment can be a good way to do this – while also preventing further tooth decay.
How is root canal treatment done?
In short, a root canal means that your dentist removes diseased teeth and nerves that have been damaged by bacteria. Then the inside of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and sealed with an aesthetic crown.
But what exactly can we expect, step by step, during a root canal?
X-rays: the doctor uses the scan to determine exactly the nature and extent of the problem.
Anaesthesia: many people are most afraid of pain, but the nerves in the tooth that needs a root canal are usually already dead, so this step could be skipped (but of course it always happens).
Tamponage: a dry, saliva-free environment is needed for perfect results.
Drilling: to access the inside of the tooth, the doctor drills a hole in it, like a filling.
Removal of the pulp and nerves: after drilling, the dentist helps to remove the damaged, diseased parts of the tooth to prevent the problem from getting worse.
Root canal filling: the drilled tooth is then filled so that it can resume its normal role without discomfort.
Crowning: finally, the professional seals the treated surface of the tooth with a crown, which is also necessary to restore functionality.
Root canal treatment is really no more inconvenient than a filling, but it can save your tooth from being pulled out!