Root Canal

Your Root Canal Information Guide

During the day, do you experience oral sensitivity? Are you concerned about any of your teeth? This is understandably concerning, and everybody is fearful of their oral health when they’re in pain.

When you experience pain, the first thing that probably springs to mind is for the tooth be removed entirely. Well, we’re here to tell you that this isn’t entirely true.

A tooth can be decayed but still be saved. The common procedure that can save the tooth is a root canal. It is designed to save the remains of the natural tooth and to prevent any further infection.

If you’re seeking root canal treatment, we have everything you need to know right here!

From understanding the procedure, costings and answering your commonly asked questions, read on to learn everything about root canal treatment.

root-canal-treatment

What is Root Canal?

When bacteria penetrate the centre of the tooth, this is what’s known as the pulp. The pulp consists of sensitive nerves and blood vessels inside the canal which becomes infected or inflamed. This leads to sensitivity within the tooth.

When an infection forms, this is bad news for your oral health. This is where root canal treatment is necessary. Root canal treatment is the process of disinfecting and cleaning the affected tooth, or the pulp cavity within the tooth to ensure the infection that has spread to the root of the tooth doesn’t spread to neighbouring teeth.

The dentist uses a special fluid to access the centre of the tooth to clean and disinfect it. Without this, the nerve tissue can become infected which can lead to a dental abscess.

Why Do I Need Root Canal Treatment?

When the pulp is infected, this is particularly dangerous to your oral health. This leads to many oral concerns such as severe tooth decay, large fillings, a crack in the tooth or gum irritation.

You may also experience swelling to other areas of the face and degenerated bone loss. Your natural teeth are embedded into the jawbone, and the jawbone that anchors the teeth is known as the alveolar bone. When the alveolar bone doesn’t receive the appropriate stimulation, the bone deteriorates which can lead to teeth falling out.

root-canal-appointment

How Root Canal Treatment Works

Root canal treatment is typically carried out by the dentist over two or more appointments. The length and amount of appointments also depends on the state of your oral health and whether further treatment is necessary to position your oral health for root canal treatment.

Below is what you should typically expect within a root canal appointment.

Before Treatment

  • Perform An Oral Examination – The dentist will first form a thorough examination of your mouth and teeth whilst completing all medical history paperwork, so they’re informed on any past treatments and determine the severity of the affected tooth. This is expected to be completed with a series of x-rays to build a clear picture of the root canal and assess the extent of the damage.
  • Apply Local Anaesthesia – Root canal treatment is typically complete under local anaesthesia. This is a painkilling medicine that numbs the affected area so that it limits any pain on the sense of feeling you experience during treatment.

NOTE: Where the dentist determines that the tooth is severely decayed beyond repair, tooth extraction treatment will be administered to remove the tooth as soon as possible to avoid the spread of decay. Click here to learn all things tooth extraction.

Performing The Procedure

  • Removing The Cavity-Filled Pulp – The infected pulp that forms from the centre of the tooth through the nerve tissue needs to be removed to reduce the spread of infection. The tooth centre is disinfected and cleaned to hold down the bacteria and limit any further damage. The dentist will drain out any pus that appears which indicates you suffered from a dental abscess.
  • Enlarge and Clean The Root Canal – The dentist needs easy access to the root canal and will attempt to enlarge the root canal in order to make it easier to seal the tooth with a temporary filling. The root canal is usually very narrow, and this typically takes a large amount of time (a few hours).
  • Apply The Root Canal Filling – Within the second appointment, the temporary filling is removed, and the canal filling will be inserted. This will seal the tooth and ensure the tooth is protected from further infection.
  • Apply The Crown – The crown covers the real tooth. The dentist will take a mould of your natural tooth to ensure the crown is developed to fit on your tooth with the correct shape and size. Crowns can be made from ceramic or porcelain material. The crown is cemented in place on top of the tooth to complete the treatment.
root-canal-procedure

Post-Treatment Aftercare

In order to experience long-term satisfaction of your root canal, immediately after treatment, it is important that you adopt these aftercare tips, so your root canal works for you and your oral health.

What You Should DoWhat You Shouldn’t Do
Reduce stress on the tooth as much as possibleDo not take painkillers not prescribed by the dentist
Maintain regularly positive oral hygieneDo not brush aggressively
Begin incorporating softer and calcium foods in your dietReduce the amount of chewy foods you eat
Book regular dental check-upsDo not skip any dental check-ups

The Root Canal Myths – What They Made You Believe

People have been misled about root canal treatment for years. A stigma formed over the years where false research determined that root canal treatment is unsafe and dangerous to oral health with the possibility of experiencing heart complications.

These myths were formed back in the 1920s and are still believed today. Weston Price, a well renowned theoretical dentist came up with these myths based on failed testing which was portrayed as accurate. It was believed that root canal treatment contained harmful toxins to cause general illness such as cancer.

Here are some of the other root canal myths that were formed:

  • You’ll experience pain and discomfort
  • A root canal treatment involves removing the tooth root
  • Root canal treatment makes patients become ill
  • All infected teeth should be extracted as soon as people feel pain
  • There are no long-lasting benefits with root canal treatment

What Is The Real Truth?

oot canal offers essential benefits to our oral health. Nothing can be better than preserving your natural tooth, and here’s why.

  • It Limits Spread Of Infection – Infection of the tooth occurs when a tooth becomes decayed through the cavity. The dentist removes the bacteria, cleans and disinfects the tooth. When this happens, the infection cannot spread to your neighboured teeth.
  • It Preserves Jaw Strength – When the tooth is preserved, the jawbone stays intact. When the tooth is extracted, the jawbone can disintegrate and this is bad news for your neighboured teeth. Root canal keeps your neighboured teeth healthy.
  • Your Mouth Function Doesn’t Change – One of the concerns with any dentistry treatment is whether the way your mouth functions would change. A root canal does not interfere with mouth functioning and after treatment, this will continue to be the case.
  • The Result Is Virtually Appealing – A root canal is like a crown that protects the natural tooth. They not only function like your natural teeth but are also aesthetically and visually attractive. When the tooth is sealed with a crown, your smile will dazzle just the way you want it.

Why Should The Tooth Be Saved And Not Extracted?

Patients have had the belief that any sensitivity experienced from the tooth should be extracted entirely. Doing this does more harm to your oral health than good. The misconception is that it is safer for a decayed tooth to be removed.

However, doing this means:

  • Your neighboured teeth are open to infection and decay
  • The jawbone supporting your teeth can degenerate quickly
  • The strength of your teeth become weak leading to tooth loss

Root canal treatment only delivers benefits to your oral health. Where a tooth can be saved, the first point of call from the dentist is to administer root canal treatment. Be assured that this procedure preserves your oral health for the better.

root-canal-procedure

Root Canal Complications – What Does This Mean?

There are rare occasions where the root canal procedure has caused complications. It is important that you are aware of what these are. Please note, if any of these occur, contact your dentist as soon as possible.

Let’s get into the possible root canal complications you could experience post-treatment.

  • Infections can result from bacteria entering the tooth during treatment, particularly from inadequate root canal treatment. If this happens, take prescribed antibiotics to reduce the infection. You may experience symptoms of swelling, sensitivity or fever.
  • The tooth may “die” during the removal of the pulp. This means the tooth can no longer be used and would require to be extracted. The tooth can become brittle when this is performed.
  • If the root canal has failed to seal, this may be because the bacteria has populated in and around the area. This deteriorates the seal and may require further treatment to save the tooth.
  • After the procedure, you’re likely to feel some pain for a few days. Where the pain continues to throb, contact the dentist as soon as possible.

This isn’t a reason to panic. One of the certainties is you’re likely to experience sensitivity once the root canal is fitted. But the above complications are only likely to occur where root canal treatment goes wrong or the treatment was inadequate. Rest assured, you’re in the capable hands of the dentist who will ensure these complications are minimized and never occur.

How Much Does A Root Canal Cost?

There are variety of cost factors that need to be considered, particularly the treatment each individual requires. Here is a general cost breakdown of a root canal.

Procedure BreakdownAssociated Cost
Pre-Treatment Examination$100-$200
Root Canal Procedure$1700-$2000
Crown Application$200-$300
TOTAL COST$2000-$2500

These costs are average breakdown costs. However, the static cost depends on a number of factors:

  • The Complexity of the Tooth – Some teeth may have more canals than others and the cost could be 20% higher.
  • Location – The cost of root canal treatment can vary depending on whether you’re from Australia or Sydney. If you live in a metropolitan area, like inner Sydney, the cost may be higher.
  • Additional Treatment – Initially, the dentist may identify other dental treatments such as bone grafting if your oral health is deemed insufficient to perform root canal treatment on. This overall cost will be higher in this instance.

Whilst the above is a base average cost of a root canal, your oral health needs will factor in the static cost. Speak to your dentist to get a final quote.

The Final Summary

THE PROCEDURE 

Local Anaesthesia
Disinfect and Clean
Apply temporary filling
Shape the root canal
Apply the crown 

APPOINTMENTS 

Minimum: 2 Maximum: 3 

AFTERCARE TIPS 

Regular brush and floss
Softer food diet
Book regular check-ups

For more information on root canal treatment and helpful tips, visit our blog page.