A root canal is a type of endodontic treatment designed to save a tooth that is badly decayed, inflamed, or infected. Root canals are common procedures, and thanks to advances in technology, including enhanced vision for precision, and strong numbing agents, the procedure can be done quickly and painlessly. Read on to learn more about root canal treatment to restore a decayed or damaged tooth.

What is Involved in a Root Canal Procedure?

You will need a root canal if a tooth has internal decay or infection in the pulp (interior) of the tooth. It will only be recommended if the decay cannot be treated with a filling. Root canals may be necessary if you’ve sustained trauma to the face, experienced a large crack or chip in the tooth or if previous dental work has failed.  

The area surrounding the tooth to be treated will be numbed for your comfort. Then, a small hole will be drilled into the tooth to grant your dentist access to the pulp of the tooth. All decayed tissue and any debris will be removed. The root canals will be thoroughly cleaned, disinfected, and maybe reshaped to prevent future infection. Special material and/or medication to resolve any remaining infection will then be inserted into the pulp and canals to prevent future infection. A temporary crown will be placed over the treated tooth before you leave your appointment.

At your next appointment, the treated tooth will need to be permanently sealed. In rare cases, a tooth that has undergone a root canal may be sealed with a filling. However, dentists typically recommend a dental crown to ensure lasting stability and prevent fracturing the tooth. Root canals are highly successful procedures to save natural teeth. The success rate of a root canal is more than 95%

What are the Symptoms that I Need a Root Canal?

Symptoms of an inflamed, infected, or decayed tooth root may vary from person to person. But common signs that you may need a root canal include:

  • Sharp, aching, pulsing, throbbing pain in the tooth 
  • Pain when biting or chewing
  • Prolonged sensitivity to cold or hot foods, lasting after you’ve finished eating or drinking
  • Darkening of the tooth
  • Swelling of the gum
  • Discoloration of the gum
  • A pimple-like sore on your gum

If you’re experiencing these or other painful symptoms in a tooth or your gums, seek treatment as soon as possible. 

Is a Root Canal Better than a Tooth Extraction?

It is always better to save a natural tooth with a root canal treatment than to have a salvageable tooth removed. When you extract a tooth, the jawbone beneath it begins to recede. This can lead to a variety of problems including an altered facial appearance, gum disease, adjacent teeth shifting into the gap, and increased risk for further tooth loss. 

It is also more cost-effective to undergo a root canal than it is to extract the tooth. That’s because you’ll have to pay for not only the extraction but also the restoration. Restoration options for replacing a missing tooth include dental implants and dental bridges. 

Schedule an Emergency Dental Appointment for Tooth Pain

Sharp pain in a tooth or swelling in your gums needs immediate treatment. Caring 4 Smiles Dental Group offers emergency dentistry including root canal treatments for infected, inflamed, or severely decayed teeth.  If you’re experiencing throbbing pain or swelling in your face, contact us today at 09 631 5416 or book an appointment online. For dental emergencies after hours call 027 226 9959.