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Dentists use root canal treatments to save teeth when the pulp at the centre of your tooth becomes severely damaged or infected. It is a relatively simple procedure and one that will alleviate your discomfort.

What is dental pulp?

Dental pulp is the soft tissue in your tooth containing the blood vessels, connective tissue, and nerves that keep your teeth healthy.

How does pulp become damaged?

Bacteria may enter a cracked or chipped tooth and damage the pulp and nerve endings. Severe trauma or decay spreading into the pulp can result in irreversible damage to the pulp.

What happens if you don’t remove the infected pulp?

The bacteria can spread throughout the root canal system and eventually become infected resulting in a dental abscess.

Are there any symptoms that might indicate I need a root canal?

Root canals are usually scheduled due to patient discomfort at the site of the damaged tooth. Indications of an irreversibly damaged/infected pulp include:

  • Sudden tooth sensitivity to temperature changes
  • Tooth discolouration
  • Inflamed gums
  • Mild or severe toothache
  • Gum tenderness
  • Cheek or jaw swelling
How does my dentist perform a root canal?

Getting a root canal usually takes two or more appointments. During the first appointment, your dentist will take X-rays and evaluate the area, developing a treatment plan. During the next appointment, your dentist will apply a local anaesthetic to the area to prevent any discomfort. Next, the dentist will remove the infected pulp, disinfect the area, then pack the cavity with dental material and medication. Finally, your dentist will restore the tooth’s shape, and function using a dental crown or filling.

Will it hurt after the anaesthetic wears off?

You may experience some mild irritation or ache. If so, over-the-counter medications will relieve the symptoms.

Why not just extract the tooth?

Your dentist will always attempt to save your tooth when possible, especially since root canal treatment has a high success rate of 90%. Saving your natural tooth can prevent bite problems from your teeth shifting position, difficulty eating, and loss of jawbone volume and density.

Although the advancements in dentistry are incredible, extracting, and then replacing a tooth is more expensive than a root canal.

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