When a tooth is badly damaged, a dentist may recommend root canal treatment. What does this mean?
If a dentist prescribes this procedure for your case, they will start by removing the damaged pulp and nerves. Then, they will clean the opening and seal it up. You may be wondering if removing the nerves renders the tooth non-functioning.
The nerves found in the root canal (soft pulp) act as sensory organs. Hence, the tooth can work with or without them. One thing that worries most patients who are considering root canal treatment is the recovery process.
How long does it take for the teeth to heal? Let’s find out together.
What damages the root canal?
Just before we go deeper into root canal recovery, let’s look at the root cause of the problem. There are a number of things, which can damage the pulp and the nerves of your teeth.
First, if the teeth decay transcends the enamel part, it will automatically damage the root canal, where the nerves are.
Secondly, if you have had frequent dental procedures on the teeth, the nerves and soft pulp can also be damaged. Large fillings and cracks on your teeth are also proven causes of root canal problems.
Why does one need a root canal procedure?
When the soft pulp and nerves located at the heart of your teeth are damaged, they fragment and offer the bacteria a good platform in which to accumulate within the chamber. The decaying debris can cause serious infection such as an abscessed tooth.
An abscess is a pocket filled with pus, which develops at the end of the roots of the tooth. An abscess is an infection associated with the root canal that may also cause your neck, face and head to swell. It leads to bone loss around the tooth root.
In some cases, it results in the formation of a drainage hole at the side of the tooth. That is why dentists recommend a root canal treatment when they diagnose pulp and nerve damage.
When should you go for a root canal treatment?
Dentists say that sometimes, it is not easy to spot a root canal problem, since some people do not exhibit the symptoms. Nevertheless, you should consider undergoing the procedure if you experience toothache when chewing food.
In addition, if your teeth are hypersensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks, you may need root canal treatment. Again, if you encounter swelling on the gums, a recurrent pimple on the gums as well as discoloration of the tooth, a root canal procedure will probably be necessary.
How do you recover from a root canal problem?
In order to heal from root canal damage, you will need a dentist to undertake a root canal procedure on you. You may need to visit the dentist’s more than once. For best results, an endodontist will be the best professional to carry out the treatment.
For those who do not know, an endodontist is a dentist whose focus is on the causes, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases of the dental pulp and nerves of the human tooth.
The first thing your dentist or rather the endodontist will do is to carry out an X-ray on the tooth. This is meant to assess the shape of the pulp and the extent of damage. They will then apply anesthesia around the tooth.
While this may not be necessary since the pulp and the nerves are already dead, the dentist will use it to keep you relaxed. Afterwards, they will wrap the tooth with a sheet of rubber to prevent saliva from getting into the area.
The dentist then drills an access hole, through which they remove the debris. Using special root canal files, the opening is cleaned thoroughly. Water containing sodium hypochlorite is then used to clean the hole.
When the dentist is sure that the tooth is clean completely, they seal it. The sealing may take place after a week or immediately. Where the hole is left without sealant for a week, a temporary filling is placed inside to prevent more food debris from settling in.
Later the dentist will carry out a restoration process, to reinstate the tooth to its normal function.
Tips for ensuring complete root canal recovery
Root canal procedure is painful, especially when the opening is being filled. During the first days after the procedure, the teeth may feel sensitive. This happens especially to patients who had pain and infection prior to the procedure.
For these people, the root canal recovery can take more time and it might be uncomfortable. Such discomfort can be solved by taking over-the-counter painkillers including ibuprofen and naproxen.
Most people are able to take on their daily activities within a day. You should be very careful not to chew, before the tooth is fully recovered and restored. Chewing on the tooth only leads to re-contamination.
You should also follow a regular routine of brushing and flossing the teeth. This will keep the tooth from being damaged again and will prevent other teeth from the damage of pulp and nerves. In addition, you should consider seeing the dentist regularly.
Root canal treatment is a popular dental procedure which helps to treat a damaged tooth without removing it. The dentist only removes the pulp and the nerves and then fills the hole. The root canal procedure is said to be painful but the recovery takes a short time.
It has a success rate of 95%.
However, sometimes there are complications. These are caused by undetected root canals, which later cause infections. Problems can also arise if the dental restoration was defective, if the sealing material breaks down, or if there is an undetected crack on the tooth.
Nonetheless, it is one of the most preferred dental procedures, since it does not involve losing a tooth. Nevertheless, make sure you have the best dentist to handle your root canal problem. With that you can be assured of a fast recovery.