If there’s any dental treatment that has acquired a bad reputation because of old wives’ tales, it’s root canals. Fortunately, modern endodontic therapy is easier than ever. At Pier Dental Centre, we tell our patients that it’s a lot like getting a filling, it just takes a little bit longer.
Here’s what to expect when it comes to treating teeth with infected or damaged nerve structures.
Why Teeth Need Root Canals
It’s not always possible to repair a damaged tooth without root canal treatment. Some of the more common situations where endodontic therapy is the best option, include:
- Abscessed teeth
- Dying nerves, due to past trauma or injury
- Deep cavities
- Cracked teeth
- Severe pain or sensitivity
Does Getting Endodontic Therapy Hurt?
No. Thanks to our dental technology and anesthetic medications, getting a root canal is about as easy as having a tooth filled. Still, it can take a bit longer to complete. That’s why we take steps to help you feel comfortable, such as using small props for you to rest your teeth on, or offering sedation and anxiety options to help you relax. Your tooth will be numbed, just as it would be during other restorative procedures.
What to Expect During Your Procedure
During a root canal, a small opening is made so that the nerve inside of your tooth can be accessed. The diseased tissues are removed and the empty canal is cleaned, medicated, and then sealed off. Some teeth have one root while others have two or three, so the length of the procedure varies based on the anatomy of the tooth being treated.
Consequences of Not Treating a Tooth
Usually, the only alternative to not getting a root canal is a “watch and wait” approach, or pulling the tooth. Both of these involve other possible side effects, such as the spread of infection and changes in your bite (resulting in the need for tooth replacement treatment immediately after the extraction.)
After Treatment: What Comes Next
Because endodontically treated teeth are no longer alive, they’re more brittle and prone to fractures. Most of these teeth will need a crown over them after the root canal is completed, so that they can continue biting and chewing normally.
Care and Maintenance
You’ll want to brush and floss around your tooth each day, as you would with your other teeth. Even though you’ve had a root canal, any exposed enamel (like the surfaces along the margin of your new crown) can still develop tooth decay if they’re not cleaned regularly. During your six-month checkups, we’ll check the area to make sure everything is staying stable as it ought to.
Root Canal Treatments in North Vancouver
If you suspect that you have a badly damaged tooth or have been told that you need a root canal, schedule an appointment with our North Vancouver dentists to find out how we can help. Pier Dental Centre is currently accepting new patients. We look forward to meeting you!