Many people mistakenly think that the root canal procedure is painful whereas, in reality, this is far from true. Clinically referred to as endodontics, root canal therapy relieves any root canal pain and saves a tooth from extraction.
Root canals are generally needed to treat a cracked tooth from an injury, issues from a previous filling, or a deep cavity. Generally speaking, patients need a root canal when their teeth become sensitive for prolonged periods to hot and cold temperatures after the sensation has been removed.
Other signs you may need root canal treatment include:
- Pimples on the gums
- Swelling and tenderness in nearby gums
- Severe toothache pain when chewing or applying pressure
- Darkening or discolouration of the tooth
Why is root canal therapy performed?
Inside a tooth lies a series of nerves and blood vessels that collectively are referred to as ‘pulp’. If a tooth is damaged or decayed, bacteria can access the pulp causing infection that may spread into the surrounding tissues causing a painful abscess. While antibiotics will relieve root canal pain they can’t however, eliminate the source of the infection.
About the root canal procedure
There’s no need to feel anxious if your dentist recommends a root canal treatment to treat a disease or damaged tooth. A root canal is a major procedure but one that our dentists regularly handle, so you’re in safe hands.
Modern root canal treatment sydney is very similar to a routine tooth filling and depending on your unique circumstances and the condition of the tooth, the process can usually be completed within one or two relatively short visits.
Root canal treatment itself is a comfortable and effective treatment that will relieve pain and make your tooth healthy once more. In no time at all, you’ll be back to smiling, biting and chewing your food with ease.
In truth, once a tooth becomes infected it can only be saved by removing the tooth nerve. Root canal therapy treats the infected pulp, prevents reinfection, and preserves the rest of the tooth.
So What’s involved in the procedure?
Having established that you do indeed need root canal therapy a local anaesthetic will be administered to the affected area eliminating any root canal pain during the procedure by numbing the mouth.
The root canals are carefully inspected and cleaned using a succession of small files until the tooth is clean.
Antibacterial medicine may also be inserted into the disease area to kill the infection. A follow-up appointment will be necessary to check that the medication is working. Once satisfied with the results, the dentist will use a crown to permanently secure the tooth and restore its structure and function.
Saving a tooth with root canal therapy has many advantages:
- Normal biting force and sensation
- Efficient chewing
- Protects other teeth from excessive wear or strain
- Natural appearance
How to manage pain after root canal treatment?
Like all surgeries, there is a risk of pain after the root canal procedure once the effects of the anaesthetic wear off.
The infection may have irritated the surrounding gums before the root canal procedure, so there may still be some inflammation and swelling in the gums. You may also feel an element of discomfort in the treated tooth.
Tips to ease pain after root canal treatment
To ease any pain and discomfort we recommend patients take over the counter painkillers such as Ibuprofen that also help to reduce any swelling and inflammation. If these don’t do the trick, then we can always prescribe stronger pain relief or a course of antibiotics. Rinsing your mouth several times a day for the first few days with warm salty water will also help soothe the pain and keep infection at bay.
For a few days at least, your tooth may still be sensitive so it’s best to avoid particularly hot or cold food or beverages and steer clear of any hard foods. Yoghurts, smoothies, soft fruit, and porridge, and soup are all excellent food choices while you’re recovering.
Placing an ice pack on the outside of your jaw periodically for the first 24 hours after root canal therapy will also help reduce the swelling and encourage the site to heal.
If your root canal was closed with a temporary filling while the infection cleared and the dentist failed to file it down sufficiently, you may also experience some discomfort when biting down. Don’t worry, our dentist can easily file down the high filling and recheck your bite to resolve the issue.
So there you have it, everything you need to know about root canal pain and how to manage it after endodontic treatment.
If you are in discomfort and suspect that you may need root canal treatment then please don’t hesitate to call the experienced dentists here at Macquarie Dental. We’ll do our best to fit you in for treatment the same day and get you out of pain. Call 02 9158 6273 to book your appointment today.
Disclaimer: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner