A root canal treatment is needed when the core of your tooth, also known as the ‘pulp’ (which consists of blood vessels, nerves and the connective tissue) becomes diseased or damaged. As a result, the pulp is removed and the hollow areas that are left are filled in and then sealed.

Signs and Symptoms

There are a few signs and symptoms if a root canal is needed.

  • If you have developed an infection in the pulp of your tooth it may not cause outright pain but instead develop slowly.
  • Initially, it may become more sensitive to hot and cold substances, cause pain when you chew, show discolouration (with or without pain) or show swelling in the gums around the tooth.

If you have these signs and symptoms than you should visit your dentist. Your dentist will examine your teeth to determine whether a root canal is needed or not. He/she may take x- rays and perform some tests.

Why Do You Need a Root Canal?

The infected core of your teeth results in severe toothache. To relieve you of this pain and to prevent further problems that may occur, the tooth is either removed surgically or is retained with a root canal treatment. Root canal treatment is the preferred option because it saves your teeth. One main reason for a root canal treatment is infection in the pulp of your tooth. This infection usually results if the decay keeps eroding the enamel of your teeth and finally it will reach the pulp or the root canal which will allow the passage of bacteria to them. Thus, causing an infection as the protective layer becomes damaged. The second reason is due to damage beyond repair to the core of your tooth as a result of a fracture or other condition. In this scenario recovering it through just a crown and filling may lead to further damage to the pulp which would then call for the need of a root canal.

How Long Will Treatment Take

The duration of the root canal depends on the situation of the tooth. Some may be easier to treat and completed in one sitting; some may take a while longer. This is due to the number of roots because some teeth have more roots than others thus they take longer to treat. Some teeth may also have curved roots which make it difficult for them to be treated easily. Infections may also require several sittings. After the root canal is completed you will also need to visit the dentist for your crown to seal the tooth for protection as well as to revive its appearance.

After Treatment Care

After your root canal treatment, there may be swelling, pain or discomfort  for several days. For this,

  • You might need to take pain killers to ease the swelling and pain
  • Avoid chewing on the side of the mouth where the treatment has been done for a while
  • Do maintain regular checkups with your dentist to ensure that the treatment has been successful without any complications.
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