If those holiday beverages are hurting because of hot or cold sensitivity, you might need a root canal. But contrary to the way we usually react to that news, it’s nothing to be worried about. Root canal therapy is a treatment that some people might initially feel nervous about receiving, only to realize these fears are unfounded. In fact, root canal treatment is a good thing because it is the only way to preserve and protect a tooth badly damaged by infection or trauma.
Before the introduction of x-rays and modern dental anesthetic, badly infected teeth were extracted. Tooth extraction is an option we strive very hard to prevent here at Tsawwassen Place Dental.
Our dentists, Dr. Sarah Harland and Dr. Tom Greene utilize the very latest and most modern technology when performing root canal surgery to ensure this procedure feels as quick and as painless as possible. A root canal shouldn’t feel any more uncomfortable than having a filling, although it can be quite a complex procedure that takes a little longer to complete. Often people who need root canal therapy have a nasty toothache, but treatment soon relieves this discomfort.
One of the most prevalent symptoms is feeling pain because the very central part of the tooth called the pulp is infected. Infection can occur when the pulp is exposed in any way, through tooth decay or trauma, allowing bacteria naturally present in the mouth to penetrate the tooth.
Your tooth pulp consists of connective tissues, blood vessels and the tooth nerve, so it’s little wonder that an infection causes pain. Other symptoms include noticing a pimple on the gum near to the affected tooth, having bad breath or a nasty taste, or that the gum looks red and swollen. You may also notice the tooth is much more sensitive to hot and cold.
If you do have a toothache, we always suggest seeing a dentist as quickly as possible because it’s a clear sign that something is wrong. A tooth infection will not disappear without dental treatment and may eventually cause a tooth abscess which can be even more painful and much more serious.
In the worst-case scenario, a severe tooth infection can cause facial swelling, you may end up feeling rather unwell, and it could even become life-threatening. In contrast, when you seek emergency dental care, we can quickly diagnose and treat the affected tooth, relieving pain and discomfort. The earlier you seek treatment, the greater the chance that we can save the tooth because if the infection spreads, we might have no other choice other than to remove the tooth.
Before we treat the tooth, we need to take a dental x-ray to visualize the extent of the infection and to plan your treatment. Your tooth is numbed so that once we begin, you won’t feel a thing. If you feel nervous, please don’t worry as we will regularly check that you feel okay to continue. After all the infection is removed, we will protect your tooth, usually with a full dental crown. Covering up the entire tooth increases its strength, and replaces any structure damaged by decay or trauma, and it helps to prevent re-infection. It is quite normal to temporarily restore a root-treated tooth, just to make sure all the infection is eliminated before it is permanently restored.
Although your tooth will no longer have a nerve, it can still function perfectly well. Teeth treated with root canal therapy will often last for years or for life, so it really is an excellent way to restore and protect your smile. If you have experienced toothache recently, please contact us so we can take care of you, as we can soon help your tooth feel more comfortable.
Remember, if you’d like some help improving your flossing technique or advice on alternatives to flossing then just ask our friendly dental team next time you come to visit Dr. Tom Greene or Dr. Sarah Harland for your checkup.
* Source: Capstone Dental