Is it possible to have a painless root canal treatment?
Like most people when you were told you needed a root canal treatment, your first thought was probably to worry about the pain. Root canal treatments had a bad reputation in the past but here’s no need to worry about it.
The good news is that root canal treatment pain is mostly a myth. In actual fact the root canal procedure itself is painless because in most cases the nerve in the tooth has died, and you cannot feel pain. There has also been some research recently, where root canal treatments were carried out on patients without administering local anesthetic and the vast majority of patients felt no pain. Any pain you’re feeling prior to the root canal procedure is usually caused by an infection in the tooth or the nerve being inflamed. In any case the root canal treatment will eliminate your pain and as it’s carried out under local anesthetic, which numbs the tooth and the surrounding area.
In our practice, with cases where the nerve is alive and causing toothache, we don’t start treatment until we have achieved anaesthesia. We test the tooth to ensure that you can’t feel anything after administering local anaesthetic and before we start treatment. There is often mild discomfort after the treatment which is usually managed with paracetamol or ibuprofen for a day or two. This is due to post-operative inflammation following treatment.
WILL THE ACTUAL ROOT CANAL TREATMENT BE PAINFUL?
We administer local anaesthetic and we take every measure to ensure that your root canal procedure is in no way uncomfortable or painful. If you feel any discomfort, we usually stop and administer more local anaesthetic. With cases where the nerve is alive and causing toothache, we don’t start treatment until we have achieved anaesthesia (the tooth is frozen). We test the tooth to ensure that you can’t feel anything before we start treatment after administering local anaesthetic. There is often mild discomfort after the treatment, which is usually managed with paracetamol or ibuprofen for a day or two. This is due to post-operative inflammation following treatment, but the root canal treatment itself is painless.
WHY IS ROOT CANAL TREATMENT NEEDED?
A root canal treatment is needed when the nerve tissue (called the pulp) located in the roots of one of your teeth becomes irreversibly inflamed or infected. The inside of each tooth is very complex, and molars and premolars may contain more than one root canal. The pulp – is like the heart of your tooth and contains blood vessels, nerves and soft tissues. When this nerve tissue becomes irreversibly inflamed it results in severe pain. A root canal treatment involves removing the nerve tissue to relieve the pain and still using the tooth functionally but without any nerve.
Inflammation of the nerve(pulp) occurs because of deep caries(decay), repeated dental procedures, leaking/failing fillings or crowns, or trauma to the tooth. Once your dentist identifies warning signs you will typically be refered to a root canal expert, like AK Endodontics.
The signs of irreversible nerve inflammation in a tooth include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discolouration of the tooth, tenderness to biting on a tooth and swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums. These are not the only symptoms and you should seek the opinion of a dentist as a radiograph is essential to confirm the diagnosis. Root canal treatment is necessary and if the tooth is left untreated it can cause severe pain or in some cases lead to an abscess. The longer the tooth is left untreated the more likely you are to develop an infection in the bone which reduces the success rate of root treatments. You can avoid this unnecessary and unwanted discomfort with a painless treatment of root canal.
REFERRAL TO A ROOT CANAL EXPERT
AK Endodontics now almost focuses exclusively on root canal treatments. As well as more difficult or complex root canal procedures. We use the most advanced root canal technology in the field and are passionate about positive experiences and pain-free treatment. We offer emergency root canal treatment, so you can be relieved of dental pain quickly. We also offer appointments for a second opinion.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING ROOT CANAL TREATMENT?
A root canal can frequently be completed in one or two appointments. We only start the root canal treatment when we are sure you are fully numb so you don’t have any pain during treatment. A non-latex protective shield called a rubber dam is carefully placed in order to isolate your tooth and keep it clean and dry thus avoiding further contamination. It also avoids us having to suck the saliva from the back of your mouth which patients often find difficult. Many, many patients fall asleep during treatment. Once we’ve achieved anaesthesia, we make a small opening in the crown of your tooth and with the help of a dental microscope we locate the root canals, gently removing the infected or inflamed dental pulp (nerve tissue). This is followed by cleaning, shaping and disinfecting the root canals. We then fill the root canals and place a temporary filling to protect the roots from being exposed or contaminated until you return to your general dentist for your final restoration.
POST ROOT CANAL TREATMENT?
We will send a record of your root canal treatment and radiographs to the referring dentist. You should return to your general dentist between two to six weeks after your root canal treatment to have your final restoration placed. By then the tooth should be pain free and you should be eating comfortably on that tooth and most of the tenderness should have subsided.
Your dentist will either fill the tooth or fit a crown to protect your tooth from fracture and further contamination.
By this stage you should be re-assured that a painless root canal treatment is not just a possibility it’s what you can expect when you visit us at AK Endodontics.
Contact us to arrange an appointment.