Many people wince when they hear the words 'root canal,' but it's not the procedure itself they should be concerned about.
Like most dental treatments, root canal therapy (endodontics) is carried out using local anaesthetic to numb feelings of pain and discomfort. What's more, the treatment actually helps to take away the pain of an infected tooth, which can often be severe and will persist if a root canal treatment isn't performed.
Unfortunately, this mistaken association of root canal treatments with pain could cause some people to delay visiting the dentist, prolonging their suffering and lowering the chance of an infected tooth being saved in time.
When is a root canal needed?
Pain in your tooth can be a sign that the tooth is damaged or infected, as bacteria may have entered the soft interior (the pulp) where the nerves are located. You should make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible.
Other symptoms that could point to a dental infection include increased sensitivity to temperature, pain when biting down and tenderness or swelling in the gum surrounding the tooth.
Does root canal treatment hurt?
If your dentist thinks you could benefit from a root canal treatment, they'll explain what the procedure involves so you can decide if it's right for you. If a tooth is too badly damaged to save though, the only option may by be to extract it and replace it with a dental bridge, implant or denture.
Your dentist will administer local anaesthesia before the procedure starts, which should numb all feeling in the part of your mouth being treated. Endodontic treatment involves opening the tooth, removing the infected pulp and replacing it with a synthetic material after thoroughly disinfecting the area. The tooth will then be covered by a crown or filling that's custom-made to look and feel like your natural teeth.
Will my tooth hurt after treatment?
It's normal to feel some soreness or sensitivity in the treated tooth which can last up to five days, but this is usually much less noticeable than the pain and discomfort felt before treatment. Your dentist can prescribe pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication to help control the pain and swelling.
If pain or discomfort lasts more than a few days, or you have other unexpected side-effects such as bleeding, you should make an emergency appointment with your dentist.
Seeing our Root Canal Specialist (Endodontist)
In some cases root canal is complex and it is worth investing in having your root canal treatment being done with our specialist Dr Ralph Reid to get the best outcome. Our dentists will assess your tooth and give you the option of seeing our root canal specialist.
What if I'm still scared?
Many people have anxiety about dental treatments, especially when drills are involved. That's why you should check with us if dental sedation is a good option for you. Read more here: options for anxious patients.
You may be able to request oral sedation to help you feel calm and relaxed during your treatment. You'll still be conscious and able to respond to your dentist, but you should be free from worries and you won't normally remember much about the procedure afterwards.
Talk to our dentists in Brisbane
If your tooth feels painful or sensitive to hot and cold, make an appointment with our friendly team in either Everton Park or Mitchelton.
Call us today on (07) 3485 0895 (Everton Park) or (07) 3485 0875 (Mitchelton), or book an appointment online.