Hi there! We hope and pray this article finds you in the best of physical, mental, and emotional health. If you are here then you’re probably considering a root canal treatment or you want to know the procedure in detail.
Whatever the case is, we’ve got you covered. This blog post describes everything about a root canal treatment, the procedures involved in it, how to select the right root canal dentist, and how to care for a root canal-treated tooth. Read on to know some key information about the therapy.
What’s root canal treatment?
A root canal treatment is an endodontic dental procedure that removes an inflamed or infected pulp and replaces it with a biocompatible material.
When do you need a root canal treatment?
A root canal procedure becomes necessary after bacteria infect a tooth’s pulp and contaminate it with abscess and pus. This usually happens after a cavity is left untreated for a long time and it acts as the gateway for the bacteria. Apart from bacteria, dying pulp materials also cause dental abscesses.
Signs and symptoms indicating root canal procedure
A dental abscess doesn’t occur overnight. But as it becomes more severe, it shows several symptoms. Some of those are:
- Tooth pain
- Sensitivity to heat and cold
- Swollen gums or boil on gums
- Discoloration of tooth
- Loose tooth
- Cracked or chipped tooth
- Pain on applying pressure
Is root canal procedure painful?
Even though root canal treatment involves an invasive procedure to remove the abscess and infection from the pulp, modern techniques have made the procedure painless and comfortable. To numb the affected tooth and minimize pain and anxiety, an endodontist will give the right anesthesia and sedatives to a patient.
Steps in the root canal process
The root canal treatment involves a series of intricate procedures that happen after one or two visits to an endodontist. Let’s take a look at each of the procedures.
1. Radiograph and dental x-rays: This is the very first stage of the root canal procedure that determines whether or not a person needs the treatment in the first place. In this, an endodontist will examine the affected tooth and take dental x-rays to know the severity of the abscess.
2. Anesthesia and sedation: The root canal dentist will apply local anesthesia or other sedatives such as nitrous oxide, intravenous sedatives, or oral sedatives to numb the affected tooth and gums and make the process as painless and as comfortable as possible.
3. Dental dam: After sedating the tooth, the endodontist will place a small sheet made up of rubber, known as a dental dam, on the tooth. It will isolate the area and keep it saliva-free and dry throughout the procedure.
4. Drilling a hole and removing abscess: The endodontist will make a tiny opening in the crown to access and use precise and sophisticated micro dental tools to remove the infected pulp, including nerves, blood vessels, and tissues.
5. Cleaning, disinfecting, and shaping the canal: After removing the infected pulp and dental abscess, the root canal dentist will clean, disinfect, and shape the pulp chamber and root canal.
6. Filling the canals: After cleaning, disinfecting, and shaping the pulp chamber and root canal, the dental professional will fill the root canal with a biocompatible, flexible, and rubbery material known as gutta-percha.
7. Sealing the tooth with temporary filling: The root canal dentist will place a temporary dental filling to seal the tooth and prevent bacteria from re-entering.
8. Final restoration: In this stage, the endodontist will remove the temporary filling and place a custom-made and fabricated crown to safeguard the tooth.
How long does a root canal procedure take?
A root canal treatment may take one or two visits to the root canal dentist. An average procedure usually takes almost 30 to 60 minutes. But if the infection is severe, the amount of abscess is high, or some additional complications in the tooth, the procedure can take up to 90 minutes.
Benefits of a root canal procedure
Root canal therapy has several benefits. They are:
- Prevents tooth loss
- Eliminates spread of infection to adjacent teeth
- Reduces pain in the infected tooth
- Minimize the risk of jawbone damage
- Looks and feels natural
How long does root canal recovery take?
In the majority of cases, the recovery time after a root canal procedure is less than a week. Some people may experience slight discomfort for a few days but can manage it by taking prescribed medicines. In extremely rare cases, the discomfort and pain persist for more than a week. But if it dies then consult the endodontist immediately.
How long can a root canal last?
A 2022 research published on PubMed found that the median life of a root canal is about 11 years.
As per the study, the average survival time of a tooth that received a filling and crown after a root canal treatment is nearly 20 years.
The average age of a tooth that received either a crown or a filing following a root canal procedure is almost 11 years.
The average life of a tooth that received neither a crown nor a filing following a root canal procedure is about 6.5 years.
What’s the average success rate of conventional root canal therapy?
Several reliable academic studies found the average success rate of a conventional root canal treatment in the range of 89 to 94 percent.
However, a renowned study found that the success rate of root canal procedures performed by qualified and experienced endodontists was above 98 percent. On the other hand, the success rate of procedures performed by general practitioners was 90 percent.w
This highlights the importance of selecting the right root canal dentist for a dental procedure as precise and as sensitive as root canal treatment.
How to select the right root canal dentist for the procedure?
Type “root canal dentists near me” or “root canal dentists in (your area)” on the search engine bar and visit some top-ranking and credible-looking websites.
Look at the qualifications, expertise, experience, and accreditations of each of the dental professionals. Find out their Google My Business profiles and what people say about them. Look at their ratings, reviews, and testimonials.
After shortlisting a few, contact them and ask about the price, success rate, and all crucial information that you didn’t get from the website.
Tips to care for a root canal-treated tooth
After getting a root canal treatment, the onus lies on you to take good care of the operated tooth. Here are some tips to take care of your tooth after a root canal procedure:
1. Avoid hard and chewy foods
Hard and chewy foods such as carrots, cucumbers, almonds, and meat, can slow down the healing process and hurt the recovering tooth. Don’t eat those kinds of foods for up to two weeks after the procedure. Eat softer foods such as pasta, eggs, fish, yogurt, mashed potatoes, applesauce, etc.
2. Avoid extremely hot and cold foodstuffs
Apart from hard and chewy foods, avoid extremely hot and cold edibles such as tea, coffee, ice cream, ice cubes, and the likes at least for the first few weeks post the treatment. They will increase sensitivity and will do more harm than good.
3. Avoid smoking
Smoking impedes the healing abilities of the human body and raises the chance of complications and infections. For the sake of your teeth and your overall physical and mental health, quit smoking.
4. Practice healthy oral hygiene
After a root canal procedure, it is extremely important to practice healthy dental hygiene. Brush at least twice a day and floss at least once daily.
5. Reduce snacking between meals and cut down on sweets and sugary beverages.
This will reduce the chances of bacterial infection and will give your teeth a new lease of life.
6. Visit your dentist regularly
This is completely non-negotiable. If you forego regular dental checkups, then you won’t be able to know if there are any complications until it’s too late.
Overall, it may be said
A root canal procedure is one of the most reliable and effective dental treatments to have ever been designed. It not only does drain out the pus and abscess from an infected tooth but it eliminates the need for extraction and retains the natural look of the tooth. The key to a successful root canal treatment is to find the right endodontist.