For some reason, there are few words in dentistry less fear inducing than being told that “you need to have a root canal”. While any lengthy dental procedure can be less than pleasant, we certainly do our best to keep you as comfortable as possible. The first step of being comfortable? Knowing what to expect!
Why do I need a root canal?
The reason your dentist has prescribed a root canal is because the nerve in your tooth is dying or already dead. This could have been due to trauma, a deep cavity or a fracture into the nerve. If infection is present, you will be prescribed an antibiotic for use prior to your root canal appointment. This should help alleviate the pressure you are feeling and will allow you to be well frozen for your appointment. Please remember, although you will likely be out of pain after a few days on an antibiotic, it is not advisable to cancel your appointment as the infection and pain will return – and usually at the most inopportune time.
How long is the root canal appointment? How does it happen?
Root canal treatment is typically around 2 hours, depending on the anatomy of the tooth and how many nerves need to be treated. The dentist will start by freezing the area to be treated and then isolating the tooth with a “rubber dam”. This isolation makes it easy for the dentist to see what is going on and prevent contamination of the nerve canals by saliva. Often, the patient is offered a bite block to rest his or her teeth and to prevent jaw joint fatigue. Once frozen, the dentist uses a special machine to find the canals and then proceeds to remove the nerves. The empty canals are then sanitized so no bacteria will remain. The canals are filled in and a temporary filling is placed on top. That is it!
What happens after a root canal?
Dr Mikhail always recommends a crown to be placed on a root canal treated tooth. Having a root canal will save the tooth, but without blood flow, the tooth will become brittle over time. A crown will help to strengthen and protect the tooth. Typically, this is completed about 6 months after the root canal appointment.
Not all dentists in Barrie provide root canal treatment. If you are having a dental emergency due to pain or fracture, please give us a call. We will get you out of pain and determine what can be done to save your tooth. Dr Mikhail routinely completes root canal therapy here at Simcoe Family Dentistry but will refer to a specialist if it is a particularly complex case. Please head on over to our services page under the Root Canal Therapy tab for more info!