What is a root canal?
A root canal (endodontic treatment) is a procedure that dentists do to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or infected.  The nerve and pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed up.  When the nerve tissue or pulp is damaged, bacteria begin to fill up inside the pulp chamber.  This can cause an infection or abscessed tooth, which is a pus-filled pocket that develops at the end of the roots of a tooth.  An infection in the root canal of a tooth can cause swelling in the face, neck, or head, loss of bone around the root area, or a hole that can cause drainage into the gums or skin.

In actuality, a tooth’s nerve is not that important for the tooth’s health and function.  With a root canal procedure, the tissue surrounding the tooth’s root will not be affected by bacterial infection and will be free from inflammation.  Therefore, you will be free from pain and swelling.

During the procedure, the dentists at Amedcoa Dental Center a branch of Pink Elephant Dental Studio will first take an X-ray of your tooth to see the shape of the root canal and if any infection has occurred around the bone.  Then, your dentist will need to gain access to the nerve tissue inside your tooth.  Next, the bacteria, damaged nerve tissue, and related debris are removed from inside the tooth by the use of a “root canal” file.  Then, the tooth has to be filled and sealed to make sure that bacteria will not build up again.  The root canal filling material, which is called gutta percha, also helps any debris from leaking out and causing inflammation in your mouth.  Sometimes your dentist may put in a temporary filling and have you come back for another appointment to finish the process by filling the tooth permanently.  Finally, to restore the tooth even further, a crown, which is a tooth-shaped “cap,” or a crown and dental post may be placed on the tooth to restore its shape and size, prevent breakage, and make it look better.

"How long does a root canal treatment take?
The amount of time it will take to have a root canal treatment done depends on a couple of factors.  First of all, different teeth have different amount of root canals.  For example, a front tooth has one root canal where a molar has three or more root canals.

In any case, it’s better to have the procedure done sooner than later because even if you don’t feel any pain associated with the tooth in need of a root canal, the infection related to the tooth can still cause damage to the bone in the surrounding area.  If you need the treatment, you should try to schedule an appointment at Karing Dental as soon as possible.  If there are scheduling conflicts, your dentist can at least help your tooth feel free from pain and then schedule another appointment later to finish the work.

Does the procedure hurt?
Root canal treatment isn’t painful; it takes away the pain.  The damaged tissue in the tooth is what causes you pain, so when it’s removed, you’re pain-free.  The myth that a root canal is painful started decades ago, but with new technologies and anesthetics they’re no more uncomfortable than having a tooth filled.  In fact, patients who have gone through the procedure are more likely to describe it as painless than those who have never had a root canal treatment. [/pane]
How do I know that I need a root canal treatment?
At Amedcoa Dental Center a branch of Pink Elephant Dental Studio  dentists can only determine whether root canal is right for you by examining your teeth, but there are ways for you to know whether you should be seeing a dentist. Sometimes there are no symptoms present, but when they are, here is what you should look for:

  • Severe toothache pain due to chewing or applying pressure—either currently causing you pain or has in the past
  • Sensitivity/ pain to hot or cold even after the hot or cold has been removed
  • Darkening of the tooth
  • Swelling or tenderness in the gums near a tooth
  • A lasting or recurring pimple/bump on the gums

What should I expect after having a root canal treatment done?
After undergoing a root canal treatment, it’s normal for your tooth to feel sensitive and tender due to tissue inflammation from the procedure, especially if there was pain or infection before having the root canal done. It might be hard to chew so you should avoid biting and chewing if it hurts too much. Some people encounter pain and soreness from the injection or from keeping their mouth open for a long time. This can be taken care of by taking over-the-counter pain medication including Advil, Motrin, or Aleve. If the pain lasts longer than a few days or if the pain and soreness gets worse, you should call your dentist immediately.

It’s important to remember, however, if your root canal treatment is not completely done (that is, your permanent filling and/or crown hasn’t been placed), you should try not to chew too much between appointments. This way, you will help prevent breaking the fragile tooth before restoration is completed as well as avoid getting the inside of your tooth re-contaminated. It would be a disappointment to have to go back to the dentist on your second appointment only to have the tooth cleaned out again, which means you would have to go back for a third visit to finish the procedure.

Are there any complications regarding a root canal?
You should always brush and floss as you normally would and visit your dentist at Karing Dental Center on the scheduled date.

Your dentist may do his or her best job cleaning out the infected tooth and sealing it, but new infections can still occur. Here are reasons why this may happen:

  • Root canals can have branches or forks at the end of the root; dentists might not detect all of the branches and leave one of them untreated by accident.
  • A crack in the root of the tooth that has gone unnoticed
  • Defective or insufficient dental restoration of the tooth, causing bacteria to enter the tooth and re-contaminating it once again.
  • Inner sealing material breaking down over time, causing bacterial to enter the tooth and re-contaminating it.
Sometimes treating the tooth again is needed; other times endodontic surgery is the best way to treat the tooth. Apicoectomy (or root-end resection) is the most common type of endodontic surgical procedure performed. In this procedure, the gum tissue is opened up so the infected tissue can be removed; they might remove the end of the root as well. To seal the root canal, a small filling is placed on the tooth. If re-treatment is not possible, then the tooth should be extracted to prevent pain and swelling.

Are there any alternatives to a root canal?
Root canal is the best choice if you want to save your natural teeth. Your natural teeth allow you to eat different kinds of foods necessary for proper nutrition. If a root canal is not an option for you, you need to have the tooth removed. When one tooth is missing, it has an affect on the surrounding teeth because they will slowly start to shift out of place, which can cause problems in chewing and your jaw joint in the long run. To avoid this, the only other alternatives for a root canal is to have your tooth extracted (removed) and then replaced with a bridge, implant, or partial dentures that are removable. As a result, these alternatives end up being more expensive than a root canal alone, and they require longer treatment time as well as other procedures to adjacent teeth.

How can I prevent getting a root canal?
The best way to prevent getting a root canal is to practice good oral hygiene. You should brush your teeth twice daily, floss at least once a day, and visit your dentist regularly. In addition, wearing a mouth guard can prevent damage related to sport injuries.