Root Canal Treatment
Let’s be honest, root canal has a bad name! More than likely you’ve heard bad stories from “friends” about root canal treatment, but can you tell fact from fiction? Keep reading to learn the benefits of root canal treatment as we dispel some common misconceptions regarding dentistry’s most misunderstood middle child.
‘The success of root canal treatment at 10 years or longer is quite reasonable at around 85%’. Ng, Mann and Gulabivala (2010)
The alternative treatment to root canal treatment is often tooth extraction. Removing the tooth can lead to:
A gappy smile
Difficulty in speaking or chewing, leading to loss of confidence
Shifting, tipping or rotating of remaining teeth
Expensive options for tooth replacement such as implants, bridges or partial dentures.
On the other hand, a successfully root treated tooth can help you:
Keep your own tooth long-term
Have a confident smile, and effective ability to chew and enjoy food
Avoid the risks associated with a tooth extraction
Not have to worry about complicated and costly replacement options
‘Inaccurate information about root canal therapy prevents you from making an informed decision regarding your teeth. There are many people that go as far as asking their dentist to extract a tooth, rather than save it with a root canal!’
Fortunately for most people, regular dental check-ups are enough to prevent your teeth from getting to this stage. However, if you ever do need to make the decision between a root canal and losing a tooth, then read on for all the facts you need to make an informed choice.
Why do I need a root canal?
A root canal is required when the tooth nerve is damaged beyond repair. In most cases, this happens when tooth decay or bacteria reaches the inner-most part of the tooth. The infection that follows will likely lead to pain and swelling and can progress to a more serious infection if not dealt with early. The sooner the canal can be cleaned and filled, the better it’s chance for long term survival.
What is root canal treatment?
The process involves cleaning the inside of the tooth of all bacteria and toxins. This is done using instruments in a similar way to how a chimney sweep cleans the walls of a flue.
We use antibacterial medicines to decontaminate the tooth before filling. We then fill the canals with a material called ‘gutta percha’. This is a natural compound derived from a rubber tree (Palaquium gutta) which is safe and compatible with the human body.
Isn’t root canal treatment painful?
Contrary to popular belief, root canal is not a painful process. We use anesthetic at each appointment to numb the tooth and surrounding gum which makes the long appointments much more pleasant. In most cases it is the most effective way to treat a severe toothache and provides almost immediate relief.
I’ve heard it’s bad for your health?
“There is no valid, scientific evidence linking root canal treatment to disease elsewhere in the body. This false claim was based on long-debunked and poorly designed research conducted nearly a century ago” - American Association of Endodontics
Do I need a crown afterwards?
Once root canal treatment is completed, it is important to protect and strengthen the tooth to help keep it as long as possible. We often recommend a crown for premolar or molar teeth to help secure a tooth for years to come.