Root Canal Treatment Vancouver
Toothaches are often signs of dental infections. Root canal treatment removes the infection inside the tooth, allowing for relief of pain and healing. Our office uses the latest technology to perform root canals in a safe and comfortable setting. It is usually done in 1 appointment. Teeth are fragile after a root canal, and therefore at risk for catastrophic fractures. A crown is often indicated after root canals to protect the tooth.
What is a Root Canal Treatment?
A root canal is a procedure that removes the infection within the canal space of a tooth. A common misconception is that root canals involve cutting or removing the roots of teeth. This is not the case. A very small access hole (3-5mm) is made in the tooth to expose the infected nerve canals inside the tooth, whereby the infection is drained, necrotic material removed and the canal space is sterilized. The empty canal is then sealed 3-dimensionally with a biocompatible natural sealing material called Gutta Percha. A successful root canal treatment will eliminate pain and infection, allowing the tooth to function once again.
Do root canals hurt?
A root canal is performed under local anesthesia, and therefore not painful. Root canals are often associated with pain, mainly because teeth are already hurting when they need a root canal. It may take a few times for the pain to subside after a root canal treatment. In rare cases, some post-operative pain occurs after the root canal and can be effectively managed with medication. Modern advances in dental technology have improved the success and comfort of the procedure greatly since 20, or even just 10 years ago. Usually, it doesn’t feel much different than getting a filling done from the perspective of the patient.
When is a root canal treatment necessary?
A root canal is needed whenever there is infection within the canal space of the tooth. This is characterized by the presence of pain, purulence, and/or visible abscess on xrays. Deep cavities or trauma that lead to an exposure of the nerve to the outside environment cause pain, infection and abscess inside the tooth. Cracks in the teeth can also allow bacteria to penetrate into the nerve space. Sometimes the nerves in our teeth can calcified and degenerate spontaneously leading to sudden pain in what feels like a perfectly good tooth. This happens more often in teeth that have had several fillings, crowns or trauma.
Is Root Canal Treatment safe?
Root canals are practice safely millions of times across the world every day. It has been a standard procedure in dental offices for many decades. The materials used by dentists during a root canal are sterile and biocompatible. Claims about root canals being unsafe or even carcinogenic have surfaced on the Internet in recent years. However, these claims are written by authors without training in medicine, dentistry and have no science backgrounds. There are no scientific or research data supporting such claims. Experiments cited to illustrate the dangers of root canals are as old as 1900s, long before the time of proper research protocol and well developed root canal techniques.
What happens to the tooth after a root canal treatment?
A root becomes more fragile after a root canal, since an access hole has been made in the center of the tooth. Often, the tooth already has a large filling or cavitie, making it very structurally weak. A crown made of metal and/or porcelain is usually required to prevent the tooth from breaking after the root canal. It acts as a helmet, to keep the tooth from cracking in half. Leaving a tooth without a crown after the root canal is akin to building a house but forgetting to put the roof on.
How to avoid a root canal?
The best way to avoid a root canal is good oral hygiene. Keeping our teeth clean and cavity free will keep infections at bay. When a tooth does break, or develop a cavity, it is imperative to seek the proper care immediately rather than wait. Waiting will only worsen the condition of the tooth, leading to pain and infection. This ultimately results in the need for root canals, fillings and crowns. Contrary to certain homeopathic claims, dental cavities cannot be cured by home remedies such as coconut oil and other natural herbs. These remedies can help prevent cavities at best, but once a hole forms inside the tooth, it is irreversible.
- Avoid chewing on the tooth
- Wear a protective night-guard if you have one
- mild to moderate pain can occur with in the first few days of a root canal due to post-operative inflammation
- NSAIDs and Acetaminophens are effective agents of pain management
- In the rare event of any swelling or significant discomfort, please call our office immediately for assistance. Occasionally antibiotics are necessary to control the infection
- If you have any questions at all, please contact our office for immediate assistance. We will be more than happy to help you.
For more information about Root Canal Treatment follow this link from the Canadian Dental Association.
Schedule your appointment with Dr. Liu, she dedicates her time to advancements in endodontic (root canal) therapy.