Five Things To Know About Root Canal Treatment

Ipswich dentist Dr. Hiten Pabari, explains why you might need this treatment, and its benefits.

‘Root canal’; the words that most patients dread hearing. It is probably not surprising that this is considered to be a terrifying treatment by many patients given the various myths that have cropped up around it. As is often the case though, the reality is completely different, and it is now widely considered that this myth arose from times when dental care was more rudimentary, and perhaps, the treatment was not as comfortable as it is now.

At the Foxhall Dental Practice, we have no desire to see any of our patients in discomfort; indeed, we are here to both prevent that and treat anything that may be causing you pain. You can be sure that our team will look after you well during any treatment and cause the minimum of stress and discomfort possible when any is needed.

As the root canal procedure is one of the most widely feared, it is worth taking a look at the procedure in more detail.

What is a root canal?

There are three major parts of a tooth; the enamel, the protective outer ‘shell’, the dentin layer, the softer and more porous layer beneath the enamel, and the root canals. These canals are where the nerves and blood vessels are located. This is sometimes referred to as the tooth ‘pulp’. With a healthy tooth, this should cause no problems at all, but if the enamel breaks or cracks, and decay sets in, if it reaches this part of the tooth, trouble will almost certainly follow.

What happens if it does?

Once bacteria have entered the dentin area of the tooth, decay will continue to make its way towards the pulp area unless it is stopped by using a dental treatment such as a filling. If the tooth is not treated and the bacteria reaches the pulp area, infection will follow. As the nerves are located in this part of the tooth, root canal infection can be very painful indeed and even the most nervous dental patient will likely call their dentist for an emergency appointment at this stage.

Is there an alternative to a root canal procedure?

The answer is yes; although it is not necessarily a good one. The only alternative to root canal treatment is to have the tooth extracted. As a root canal procedure is nowhere near as bad as you probably think it will be, it makes no sense to extract the tooth instead of having a treatment that could save it.

Does the procedure hurt?

If you are asking this question, you are far from being alone. A lot of patients arrive to have this procedure feeling very anxious about it. The vast majority though, once it is over, tell us that it was nowhere as bad as they expected it would be. We will first check for the presence of abscesses and treat them, following which the procedure will be performed with the use of a strong local anaesthetic that will minimise any discomfort that might be felt. Patients are likely to experience certain sensations during the procedure as the dental equipment does its work, but no actual pain should be felt. Once the treatment is complete, there may be some residual soreness which can be managed using regular painkillers, but as the nerves within the tooth will have been removed during the procedure, no ongoing pain should be experienced at all.

Naturally, as with any procedure, if you have any concerns that arise in the days following it, please call the Foxhall Dental Practice for further advice.

Is it worth it?

In our opinion, certainly ‘yes’. This may be a procedure that is often misunderstood, but it is one that enables the patient to keep their natural tooth instead of seeking out a replacement, such as dentures or dental implants. Excellent choices though these may be, the truth is that nothing beats a natural healthy tooth.  Although your newly restored tooth may not have quite the strength that it would have in a normally healthy state, it should still provide sufficient strength for daily use, providing that a little care is taken.

You will still need to keep the tooth and surrounding area clean, in order to avoid gum disease, and you should take care not to ‘crunch’ down on harder foods, using another area of the mouth to do so instead.

We hope that this explanation of what is often an unpopular procedure helps. We are always happy to explain any treatment in as much detail as you need. Please be reassured that our dentists are highly skilled and experienced and have successfully carried these procedures out many times before. You are in safe hands at our Ipswich dental practice and we make every effort to make sure that it stays that way!

To arrange an appointment to see a dentist at the Foxhall Dental Practice, please call us on 01473 258396.