The phrase “You need a root canal” can strike fear into the heart of even the most brave dental patient! But the truth is, it really doesn’t have to. Techniques and technologies have come a long way (thank goodness), meaning that most root canals performed under normal local anaesthetic in the chair are simple and completely painless.
How do I know if I need one?
If a tooth has been badly damaged by decay that has reached the nerve, has an abscess, or is causing severe ongoing pain, chances are it will require root canal treatment.
Is it going to hurt?
This is the number one question asked by patients when informed that a root canal treatment is needed. The answer is NO, root canal should be not be a painful experience at all.
However, if a tooth is found to be severely infected, it is often necessary to prescribe a course of antibiotics before commencing any treatment, to ensure that the anaesthetic works adequately. Your dentist will advise you if this is needed.
What does the procedure involve?
Root canal is completed in stages, (usually 3), with appointments spread out several weeks apart. To briefly summarise, the steps involved in root canal are as follows:
- Visit 1: Remove all decay; remove damaged nerve, placement of antibiotic dressing inside the tooth.
- Visit 2: Cleaning and shaping the canals inside the tooth roots, further antibiotic dressing placement.
- Visit 3: Final cleaning and sealing up of all canals inside the tooth roots.