Root canal therapy
A root canal is a treatment typically used to treat an infection of your tooth’s pulp. This pulp is found in the centre of each tooth and contains tissue like nerves and blood vessels.
Sometimes this pulp can be infected by decay which can result in a sharp, shooting pain or sensitivity to extreme temperatures. If left untreated, this type of infection can cause issues like a dental abscess (an uncomfortable pus-filled infection), bone loss, swelling or losing the tooth.
On this page
- What happens during root canal treatment?
- Signs that you may need a root canal
- Do root canals hurt?
What happens during root canal treatment?
Root canals involve removing any infected pulp or decaying sections of tooth. This leaves your root canal empty and ready for your dentist to clean and shape it. Your dentist will then use a disinfectant to remove any remaining bacteria. Afterward, they will fill the canal with special material and restore the tooth. Your dentist may recommend a crown if the tooth structure has been weakened.
This procedure can take several appointments. After your root canal, you may experience some discomfort but this should fade away. If the discomfort persists, be sure to contact your dental clinic. Teeth can look and function normally without pulp, so root canals can be an effective way to save your tooth and avoid needing more costly treatments like tooth replacement.
Signs that you may need a root canal
Only your dentist can determine if a root canal is right for you. Still, there are a few tell-tale signs that you might need a root canal:
- Severe toothache or sharp pain, especially when you bite down or apply pressure to the area
- Swelling in your gums
- Prolonged discomfort to very hot or cold temperatures in the mouth
- Darkening or discolouration of the tooth
If you’re experiencing any of the above, you should contact your dentist immediately.
Do root canals hurt?
While a root canal isn’t exactly the same as getting a massage or taking a hot bath, it still doesn’t quite deserve its painful reputation. Modern dentistry affords us technology and techniques that make the experience a lot more comfortable than it was in the past.
The fear of treatment is often worse than the treatment itself.