There is nothing wrong with liking sweets—as long as you consume it in moderation. Too much sugar consumption increases the bad bacteria in the mouth, which produces harmful acid that erodes the structure of the teeth. Combine this with poor dental habits and you have a perfect recipe for disaster. Over time the bacteria creates cavities and seeps into the deeper layers of the teeth. Eventually, it will reach the roots of the teeth causing more problems. When this happens you will need a root canal treatment in Singapore.
Root Canal 101: What is it and how does it work?
When bacteria reaches the root of the tooth, it causes inflammation and infection. A root canal procedure is performed on a tooth that has been severely damaged by bacteria. It treats the pulp and root of the tooth, aiming to save areas that have not been affected by decay.
Here is how a root canal procedure is carried out:
- The dentist removes the pulp, root, and nerve of the tooth that has been damaged by bacteria and decay.
- The target area is then treated with antibiotics.
- Composite or amalgam fillings are then supplied to fill the cavity.
- The target area is sealed to prevent the recurrence of damage and decay.
The health of the tooth that has undergone a root canal treatment is no longer the same. It is much more feeble. Hence, it is common that a dental crown covers the tooth treated with a root canal.
Signs that you may need a root canal treatment
Pain that is persistent is the usual sign that you need a root canal. This pain may be felt constantly or intermittently and is also felt in other parts, such as:
- Surrounding teeth
Experiencing tooth pain may also be a symptom of the following dental or medical conditions:
- Damaged tooth filling
- Gum disease
- Impacted tooth that has developed an infection
- Referred pain an underlying condition like a sinus infection
Discoloration of tooth
When there is not enough blood supply that reaches the roots of the tooth, the pulp dies. As a result, the tooth’s colour changes and turns to a tinge of black and grey. Tooth discoloration does not always warrant a root canal, but it is imperative that you get your tooth checked out to treat any problem present.
Cold and heat sensitivity
Tooth damage or infection is usually present when the tooth is sensitive to either hot or cold temperatures. The pain that you feel when you drink a hot or cold drink may be sudden, sharp, and chronic. If the pain happens often and does not go away for a long time, it may need an immediate root canal intervention.
Swelling gums as a result of a tooth infection can sometimes be accompanied by an abscess or gum boil. This swelling is caused by the acid produced by the infected and dead tissue lumps deep in the tooth.
The acid produced by the bad bacteria in the mouth eventually causes nerve death, which then affects the bone that surrounds the root of the tooth. The bone becomes softer and loosens its tight grip around the tooth.
Tooth that is cracked or chipped
Tooth that has been damaged due to impact or extreme pressure can damage the nerves. This occurrence can trigger the bad bacteria’s activation and invasion of the tooth pulp, leading to swelling and infection. An inflamed and infected tooth nerve needs a root canal treatment to get better.
Diagnosing a tooth for root canal
Diagnosing a tooth whether it needs a root canal or not needs the thorough assessment of a dental specialist. You may be required to undergo tests, such as:
- 3D Scans
These tests will be able to determine the severity of your tooth’s condition and other concerns that may be linked to the inflammation and infection of your tooth. There are instances when the bone that holds the tooth has become severely infected and progressed to bone loss. Unfortunately, this frail condition of both tooth and the surrounding bone can no longer be saved by a root canal. The run-down tooth should be removed completely to avoid further spreading infection to the other teeth and parts of the gums.
Root canal process
A simple root canal procedure involves several steps that are completed in about an hour at most. Complicated conditions may require a procedure to go over an hour and two procedures to complete.
On the day of your root canal procedure, expect the following:
- A local anaesthesia is applied to the area where the procedure is to be done. This covers the tooth slated for the root canal and the gums around it. The anaesthesia will lessen the discomfort and pain during the procedure. For patients who suffer from anxiety during dental procedures, your doctor may recommend sedation.
- Once the anaesthesia kicks in, the infected tooth is isolated by placing a small rubber dam around it. This also keeps the tooth dry during the procedure.
- A tiny hole is drilled into the tooth’s crown so the pulp can be accessed.
- The pulp including the blood vessels, nerves, and other damaged tissues are removed.
- After the pulp removal, the root canal is treated with antibiotics.
- The now disinfected cavity is shaped and filled with an elastic dental material, after which the tooth is sealed dental fillings to hinder bacteria from reaching inside the tooth.
- To strengthen the treated tooth, a dental crown is placed over it.
Root canal preparation
If you have been scheduled for a root canal procedure, your health provider will brief you about what you should expect during the procedure. It is best that you raise all your questions and concerns during this time. Remember to strictly follow your doctor’s orders when preparing for the procedure. Usually, patients are asked to:
- Eat prior to your procedure – It will be a while before the anaesthesia from the anaesthesia wears off. This means that you may not be able to eat immediately after your procedure.
- Quit smoking – This unhealthy habit interferes with the body’s healing process.
- Take prescribed medicines – Your doctor will prescribe medications for you to take to manage inflammation and antibiotics to clear the bacteria present in the tooth.