A root canal therapy or RCT procedures are performed either when the nerves within your tooth has become inflamed due to decay, a deep filling or a crack. If the symptoms of one of these is ignored it will lead to the nerve dying and possibly becoming infected. This can result in an abscess (a sack of pus) at the tip of the root of the tooth, and when you may experience severe pain and swelling.
Root canal symptoms
The symptoms to look out for are; if your tooth becomes very sensitive to hot & cold; or there is tenderness when biting. This pain is typically sharp and does not last for long. If the nerves in your tooth have already died, the pain is more of a prolonged ache and can be brought on by hot drinks and food. The success of a root canal treatment (RCT) is higher the early you have it treated.
How long does a root canal take?
Everyone of your teeth has a different number of nerves which run through a canal. Your back teeth (molars) can have up to 5 canals, were as your front teeth may only have 1. You will most likely need 2 appointments to have everything finished, but this is dependant on whether the tooth is in the early stages of decline or more advanced stages. Root canal procedures on the back teeth, normally takes 1 hour for the first appointment and another 1.5 hours for the second appointment, but it is highly variable from case to case.
Pain after root canal treatment
After the treatment it is normal to have some mild healing pain for a few days after a root canal procedure however it is generally very minor in comparison to the pain being experienced when you initially come in to see myself or my team.
Root canal treatment steps
Appointment No. 1
After numbing your tooth with anaesthetic, taking some x-rays and intra-oral photos, we access the nerve chamber of the infected tooth from the top by drilling a small hole and then add a pain relieving medicine into the canals. I then fill the hole with a temporary material so it is less traumatic on your tooth at the second appointment when I need to remove it. If you are also suffering from additional infection or have swelling then I may also prescribe antibiotics to help fight that infection.
I see many patients that have had the first part done, but for many reasons the second half is not complete. That’s ok, but you need to know this is only a temporary measure and the second half should be completed or you may lose your tooth.
Appointment No. 2
Your second visit involves removing the infection from within the canals of the tooth and irrigation with an anti-bacterial liquid. There will be a series of x-rays along the way as we clean out the infection in the canals and then fill them with a rubber like material to prevent any further spread of bacteria. The last step is to place a filling over the access hole to seal everything shut. If the root canal is performed on a back tooth, a premolar or molar tooth, a crown is commonly needed to strengthen the tooth and prevent it from cracking in the future.
Root canal treatment (RCT) side effects
The main side effect of root canal therapy is the removal of your tooth ache. On the serious side there is always a possibility reinfection if a mystery canal is not found or the tooth has unusual anatomy.
Root canal treatment is a worthwhile investment in your smile, and can save your natural tooth. At Tooth Crusader our motto is “To Fight For Teeth” and RCT is a long lasting treatment that can serve you well, but like everything in life we need to look after it. If you need to talk to myself call on (02) 8203 8750 to make an appointment.