A root canal treatment is used to treat severe tooth infections. The term “root canal” may conjure up scary images in your mind, but in reality, it is a fairly easy and pain-free treatment. It is much better than having a tooth extraction, which can be the result of ignoring your root canal infection. So, if you think you may have a root canal infection, give Boon Dental a call. We are experts in restorative dentistry.
In this article, we discuss three signs you need a root canal treatment and what you can do to prevent it.
What is a root canal treatment?
Our teeth are made up of three layers; enamel (tough outer substance), dentin (middle layer) and the pulp (inner layer composed of nerves and blood vessels). When tooth decay advances it can reach the pulp. Once this occurs, the pulp can develop an infection, and you may require a root canal treatment to save your tooth. During a root canal treatment your dentist will:
- Clean out the infection from inside the tooth
- Thoroughly sanitise and disinfect the area
- Fill the space with a special dental filling material
- Seal the area to prevent any bacteria from entering and promoting infection
- Fit the tooth with a crown (if needed)
This whole process is performed under local anaesthetic and can be done in one appointment. There is minimal downtime after a root canal treatment. The anaesthetic may take a few hours to wear off. During this time you need to be careful not to bite or chew on your lips, tongue or the inside of your cheeks. There may be a little sensitivity for a few days after the treatment but this should subside quickly.
Three signs you need a root canal treatment
The only way to be 100% sure that you need a root canal treatment is by visiting your dentist. However, there are signs you need a root canal to watch out for. Let’s discuss three signs and symptoms that may indicate you need for a root canal:
Consistent tooth pain
Tooth pain can indicate a range of dental problems including a root canal infection The pain in your tooth may begin as a dull ache that goes away and returns. As the infection worsens the pain does too, until it is a constant ache. You may also feel pain in your jaw, cheek, and ear. You need to speak to your dentist as soon as possible if this occurs. Other issues that cause tooth pain can include:
- Gum disease
- Tooth trauma
- A sinus infection
- A damaged filling
Tooth discolouration is one of the key warning signs you need a root canal treatment. When the pulp inside your tooth develops an infection it can cause the tooth to change colour. It may appear a brownish/black colour, this is because the nerve endings inside the tooth are dying. You need to get it treated as soon as possible to avoid losing that tooth. Tooth discolouration is easy to see in your anterior (front) teeth but may be more difficult to notice in your back teeth. Your dentist is able to spot these signs easily, so make sure you schedule regular check-ups.
As with any infection, the area surrounding it may become swollen and sore. When you have an infected pulp the gum around it can become inflamed and swollen. The swelling may come and go, it can also be very painful to touch so eating may become difficult. You may also notice a little pimple appearing on your gum, this is known as an abscess. The abscess can start oozing pus which causes a bad taste in your mouth. If you notice any of these symptoms you need to see your dentist immediately as they could be signs you need a root canal treatment.
How can I avoid a root canal treatment?
Luckily, root canal treatments are avoidable. The main way to prevent infection from occurring is by maintaining healthy teeth. We do this by forming good oral health habits. These habits include:
- Brush your teeth: twice a day for a full two minutes. Make sure you reach every tooth and don’t forget to brush your tongue!
- Floss once a day: this is a step people often overlook but it’s very important as your toothbrush cannot reach everywhere.
- Use a fluoride-based toothpaste: fluoride strengthens your teeth.
- Use a fluoride-based mouthwash: this is an optional step.
- Limit sugar intake: try to limit the amount of sugary drinks and food you consume. When you do consume something with a high sugar content, make sure you clean your teeth afterwards.
- Avoid tobacco and alcohol: these substances can cause tooth decay and discolouration.
- See your dentist regularly: every six to nine months for a check up and professional clean
If you keep up each of these habits, you have the best chance of maintaining healthy teeth and preventing infection from occurring.
Root canal treatment at Boon Dental
Have you noticed any signs you need a root canal treatment? The thought of having a root canal treatment can cause people to avoid seeking help. Unfortunately, this only worsens the problem. Root canal treatment is a routine procedure and nothing to be afraid of.
If you believe you may have an infected tooth, then give Boon Dental a call. We take the time to talk you through the entire process, create a personalised treatment plan and ensure you’re comfortable.