Root canal treatment (also known as Endodontics) is an essential part of dentistry, as it can save teeth from having to be extracted. Below, we’ll be covering:
- How to spot the symptoms
- The correct advice for recovery
- How we can help if you’re someone who is frightened of the dentist
What can root canal treatment achieve?
Root canal treatment can become necessary when the centre of a tooth (the living connective tissues within it) becomes infected. With root canal treatment, it’s possible to remove the infected matter and save your tooth from needing to be taken out. The sooner you come in and see us with concerning symptoms, the more likely we will be able to perform root canal treatment to rescue your tooth. But what are the symptoms you need to look out for?
No symptoms: frustratingly, an infected tooth can sometimes cause no symptoms until things get very advanced. This is why routine dentist appointments are crucial. Your dentist will be able to spot developing problems in your mouth, which can be hard to see in the mirror at home.
Discoloured tooth: a knock to the tooth or the breakdown of the pulp (the living tissues) can damage the roots, giving the tooth a greyish appearance. If you notice any changes to the shade of an individual tooth, make an appointment with us here in Bristol as soon as possible.
Sensitivity to hot and cold: if you’re experiencing dwelling sensitivity after eating and drinking hot and cold food/drink, blood vessels and nerves in your tooth may be damaged.
Swollen gums: if you’re experiencing pain in your gum around one specific tooth, as opposed to more general gum irritation, this could be due to an infection.
Can I avoid needing root canal treatment?
You can introduce several healthy habits into your lifestyle to stop a tooth from becoming infected in the future. However, consistency is key. Even a single missed brushing or flossing session every now and then can bring you one step closer to needing root canal treatment. Prevention is the cornerstone of effective tooth and gum care, and with this in mind, you should try to observe the following positive habits:
Dentist: make sure you’re attending routine dentist appointments at the intervals recommended by your dentist. Leaving long periods between dental appointments risks problems with your teeth being overlooked and increases the likelihood of you requiring complex treatment in the future.
Hygienist: the acids in plaque that build up along your gum line remove minerals found in each tooth’s outer enamel layer. Once the erosion process begins, small holes form, which are the first signs of a cavity. By visiting the hygienist regularly, you can feel safe knowing that plaque will be removed, reducing your chance of developing cavities and, consequently, a dental infection.
Get dental pain investigated ASAP: noticed any new or worsening pain with a specific tooth? This could be your tooth trying to tell you it’s suffering from decay. Getting a filling to treat this as early as possible could save you from needing a root canal.
How to recover from root canal treatment
Here are our tips for looking after yourself following root canal treatment:
Listen to what your mouth tells you: if you experience swelling or pain, it’s a sign you could benefit from an ice pack to reduce this. You should also avoid solid foods and stick to a soft diet until you’re no longer in pain. And if you are a smoker, this should also be avoided. The less contact your mouth has with foreign chemicals, the better healing capacity it will have.
Be diet-wise: eating hard and sticky foods is usually a bit of a challenge for root canal treatment patients. Opt instead for food that doesn’t require a great deal of chewing, but that still delivers the nutrition you need. Soups, smoothies and mashed potato or mashed vegetables like swede or celeriac are all great options.
Pack in the smoking: smoking is no friend to your teeth at the best of times, but this is even more true when your mouth is recovering from root canal treatment. Refrain from smoking to speed up the healing process.
Avoid exercise: even after an oral procedure such as root canal treatment, it’s important to avoid exercise for a couple of days to aid your recovery. Exercising too soon might induce more bleeding and cause general aches and pains. Even the exercise buffs among you should try your best to have a couple of days off (we know this can be tough). Try to reintroduce gentle exercise before going back to your regular routine.
Contact us if you have any questions: you will, of course, be given clear guidance on how to recover after your root canal procedure. However, if you’re unsure of anything we have gone through with you or need something reiterating, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Are you frightened of the dentist? We can help
If you suffer from dental phobia, as dentists, the last thing we want is for you to feel you have no option but to avoid treatment altogether. The Bristol Dental Practice team is both highly trained and experienced in building up patients’ confidence so they can feel more relaxed in the dentist’s chair.
Patients who are frightened of the dentist can also benefit from IV (intravenous) dental sedation, which has been used successfully in dentistry for many years. IV sedation can be revelatory for patients with dental phobia, helping them relax during their procedure. IV sedation is administered on the back of the hand with a small needle called a cannula. It can be used for most dental procedures, including root canal treatment.
Root canal treatment in Bristol
The Bristol Dental Practice is equipped with the very best technology and equipment. Dr Umut Gokay Emir, our root canal dentist, is highly skilled and has a PhD and MSc in endodontics. Dr Umut is experienced in dealing with the most challenging cases and is recognised as a Specialist Endodontist in the UK.
We’re thrilled to have Dr Umut as part of the team and to be a multi-disciplinary dental practice offering endodontic services.
Contact us here in Bristol
If any of the symptoms on the list above concern you, please make an appointment with your dentist here at The Bristol Dental Practice. Also, if you wish to book a routine dentist or hygienist appointment, our friendly reception team can arrange this for you.