Root canal treatment is a common endodontic procedure that is performed to eradicate bacteria from an infected root canal, and prevent the possibility of reinfection. It safeguards the thoroughly cleaned tooth against future bacterial intrusion. At Kong Dental Surgery, we prioritise restoration of the original tooth rather than the removal of the tooth. This is where root canal treatment comes in.
This procedure is typically necessary when there is an alteration in tooth structure due to factors such as a cracked tooth resulting from injury or genetic factors, tooth decay, the presence of a deep cavity, or complications arising from a prior dental filling.
A root canal is a dental procedure used to treat an infected or damaged tooth. It involves removing the pulp, which is the soft tissue inside the tooth containing nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. Once the pulp is removed, the inside of the tooth is cleaned, disinfected, and sealed.
The term “root canal” also refers to the natural cavity within the centre of the tooth where the pulp is located. This area houses the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth.
After a root canal procedure, the tooth may require a crown or other restoration to protect and strengthen it, as a tooth that has undergone a root canal treatment can become brittle over time.
Root canal procedures are performed to save a severely damaged or infected tooth, allowing it to remain in the mouth rather than being extracted. This helps maintain the natural bite and appearance of the smile.
There are many benefits to having a root canal treatment. The primary benefit is that you get to retain your original tooth/teeth.
You might require root canal treatment if you are experiencing the following signs and symptoms:
Tooth discoloration: Your teeth might turn darker with a greyish-black colouring. This is often the sign of a dying pulp that will need root canal treatment.
Root canal treatment at Kong Dental Surgery is straightforward and fuss-free. It involves 3 main stages:
Your dentist will perform an X-ray of the root of your tooth. This is followed by a pulp vitality test. These assessments and tests are to determine if you require a root canal treatment. The test will also evaluate how severe your condition is so that your dentist is able to know how extensive the procedure will be.
Once the dentist has determined that you require root canal treatment and you have decided on proceeding with the procedure, your root canal treatment will commence.
Before the root canal treatment is done, your tooth will be numbed completely with a local anaesthetic. The local anaesthetic ensures that you do not feel any pain during the entire procedure.
You may also choose to be placed under prior sedation or general anaesthesia, depending on the recommendation of the dentist and the treatment plan agreed upon.
Your tooth will be isolated from the rest of your mouth using a soft and stretchable dental dam. The dental dam protects your mouth from the instruments and chemicals used during the procedure. It also helps keep your tooth clean and dry so that your root canal treatment has an increased rate of success.
A small opening is made on your tooth to access the pulp chamber and root canals once the anaesthetic has taken effect. This process exposes the infected pulp of your tooth. Disinfecting fluids is introduced to kill any bacteria and rinse out debris present around and in your tooth. Once this has been done, the infected tissue is cleared from within the tooth through the use of root canal files.
Your root canal is dressed with a temporary filling. This temporary filling is left to settle for 1 to 2 weeks before the final root canal filling is placed.
A permanent root canal filling is placed to seal your root canal once your tooth is ready and free from symptoms. It is common for an X-ray to be taken to ensure that the root canal filling is placed in the precise location in the root canal before it is sealed in.
A well-sealed restoration that can come in the form of a filling (which is also known as an inlay or crown) will be placed over your tooth. A supporting post will be placed within your tooth to stabilise the permanent crown on top of the treated tooth. This protects your tooth from further infection and damage. It also improves the overall function of your tooth.Placement of the filling should be done as soon as possible as this can affect the success rates of your root canal treatment.
The recovery period of a root canal treatment usually takes about 1 week. It is normal to feel sore around your jaw area following treatment.
A root canal treatment usually takes around 30 minutes to 60 minutes complete. However, if your condition is more severe or complex, it might require more time and even a second appointment if a crown has been recommended.
You would require root canal treatment if you have noticed or experienced the following signs:
Root canal treatment has low risks if done under an experienced dental professional. However, due to the delicate nature of the procedure, the following might happen:
The root canal treatment procedure should not be painful as it will be done with the use of local anaesthesia. You will be numb for the entirety of the procedure. After the treatment, the affected area will cause slight discomfort. This feeling will go away after a few days.
Should you still be experiencing pain or intense pain that does not go away, you should consult with our dentists immediately.
A tooth extraction removes your affected tooth entirely. This leaves you with a gap at the removal site which can make it hard for you to eat, bite and chew properly. Some patients opt for tooth extraction instead of root canal treatment as it is the cheaper treatment option.
Root canal treatment attempts to restore your natural tooth so that you are able to restore the original tooth function and appearance. In the long-run, doing root canal treatment can be a more efficient and cost effective treatment in comparison to tooth extraction.
Yes, it is possible to go about your day-to-day activities after root canal treatment. You will be able to return to school or work a day after your procedure. However, if you are intending to eat after your treatment, it is highly recommended not to as the affected site is numb.
Root canal treatment is considered a restorative procedure. For restorative procedures, aftercare is important to retain the permanence of the procedure.
You will receive painkillers after your root canal treatment to counter the soreness that you may feel after sedation wears off. While you are still experiencing numbness, it is strongly advised not to consume food.
You should also brush and floss daily to keep the area clean. This helps combat potential infection.
You might also be asked to return for the final crown to fully restore your tooth. This should be done as soon as possible.
A restored tooth can last an average of 10 to 15 years after root canal treatment.
Teeth that receive root canal treatment as well as a dental crown after treatment can increase the lifespan of their tooth to more than 20 years.
What you do also plays a part in ensuring the longevity of your restored tooth. Taking simple steps like continuing your dental hygiene care, heading for regular check ups and active maintenance can help prolong the lifespan of your restored tooth.
Both dental professionals are able to do root canal treatment.
If you are considering between a general dentist and endodontist for root canal treatment, you can be sure that a general dentist is more than qualified to handle basic root canal cases.
Should you have a more complex root canal case, it might be best to head to an endodontist who is a specialist in conducting root canal treatment.
Kong Dental Surgery is a family clinic that has the experience and clinicians necessary to help you and your family get the right treatment. If you are looking for a friendly dental clinic that goes above and beyond in our dental care, Kong Dental Surgery might just be the clinic for you.
To find out more about our dental services or book an appointment, you can reach out to our individual clinics.
Root canal treatment is not a surgical procedure that is covered under the table of surgical procedures by the Ministry of Health and thus, is not Medisave-claimable.
If you are looking to finance your root canal treatment, let us help you find alternative financing.
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