What is a root canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure that involves removing the infected or damaged pulp (the soft tissue inside the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels) and cleaning and disinfecting the canals inside the tooth.
The canals are then filled with a material called gutta-percha and sealed with a filling or crown to prevent re-infection. The purpose of the procedure is to save a damaged or infected tooth, instead of extracting it.
The goal of a root canal is to remove the infection, preserve the tooth structure, and help a person to keep their tooth as much as possible.
When do you need a root canal?
On the Sunshine Coast, root canals are typically recommended when the pulp of a tooth becomes infected or inflamed, which can be caused by a variety of factors such as a deep cavity, repeated dental procedures on a tooth, a cracked tooth or chip in the tooth, or trauma to the tooth. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the surrounding bone and tissue and cause severe pain, swelling, and eventually, tooth loss.
A root canal may be recommended if you have:
- Severe toothache caused by an infection or inflammation in the pulp
- A visible abscess (a pocket of pus) on the gums near a tooth
- Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures that lingers after the stimulus is removed
- Tenderness or swelling in the gums
- Discolouration of the tooth
- A tooth that is painful to bite down on
These symptoms can indicate that the pulp inside the tooth is infected or inflamed, and if left untreated, the infection can spread to the surrounding bone and tissue and cause severe pain and eventually, tooth loss.
Your dentist will be able to examine you and determine if a root canal is necessary or not during your dental appointment.
How long does a root canal take?
The length of a root canal procedure can vary depending on the complexity of the case, but generally, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to complete. Root canals will typically take two separate visits to the dentist.
During the first visit, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth and make an opening through the top of the tooth. Using small instruments, the dentist will then remove the infected or damaged pulp from the pulp chamber and canals within the tooth. Once the pulp is removed, the canals are cleaned and disinfected. After the cleaning and disinfection, the canals are filled with a material called gutta-percha and a temporary filling is placed in the opening.
The second visit, which is typically done a week or so later, is to remove the temporary filling and place a permanent filling or a crown on the tooth. The dentist will verify that the tooth has no pain or discomfort, and make sure that the tooth is restored to its normal function.
It’s important to note that some cases may require additional visits depending on the complexity of the situation. Your dentist will be able to give you a more accurate estimate of the length of the procedure and the number of visits required after they have examined you. If you’re unsure, please contact us to book a dental consultation.
How much does a root canal cost in Australia?
The cost of a root canal in Australia can vary depending on a number of factors, including both the location and type of tooth affected. For instance, a front tooth might require a different amount of effort compared to a back molar.
The cost of a root canal procedure also typically includes the final restoration of the tooth, which is usually a crown.
It is always recommended to check with your dentist or endodontist for the specific cost and if there are financing options available with health fund providers.
Can you redo a root canal filling?
It’s possible that a root canal filling may need to be redone or retreated, if post-treatment care isn’t carefully followed or if new decay forms. In this case, a root canal may need to be redone.
Retreatment can be a more complex procedure than the original root canal treatment but is an option to try and save the tooth if feasible. Your dentist or endodontist will be able to evaluate your situation and advise you if retreatment is the appropriate course of action.
If you think you might need to redo a root canal filling, please contact us for assistance.
What to expect after a root canal procedure?
After a root canal procedure, you might experience some discomfort and sensitivity for a few days, as well as some mild swelling around the treated area. Your Sunshine Coast dentist will provide you with instructions on how to care for your treated tooth and manage any pain or discomfort you may experience.
Your aftercare instructions might include recommendations to avoid biting and chewing on foods using the treated tooth for the first 24-48 hours following the procedure. You may also be recommended to avoid eating or drinking hot foods and liquids during this time after the procedure.
Booking with a Sunshine Coast root canal dentist team
It’s always best to schedule an appointment with a qualified Sunshine Coast dentist if you suspect that you may need a root canal or you have any questions about the procedure.
A member of our team at Dentistry on Coolum will be able to conduct a thorough examination and provide you with a personalised treatment plan that is best for your individual needs. They will also explain the procedure, costs and what you can expect from it.
It’s always important to take care of your dental health and to address any concerns as soon as possible to prevent further complications.