When people think about emergency dentistry, root canal is often not the first thing to come to their minds. Broken or chipped teeth, some oral trauma that happened during sports or a car accident…
But what about emergency root canal treatment? While this advanced dental procedure can sometimes be taken care of during a scheduled appointment at a dental clinic, it may require a visit to a dental emergency room.
Emergency Root Canal Treatment in Ottawa
Bacteria are the main cause of most problems for our teeth. Many times, bacteria lead to a cavity, which, if left untreated, can spread to below the gum line. If the root of the tooth is damaged, you may require an emergency root canal to repair your tooth.
A root canal is intended to eliminate bacteria from the damaged root canal and save the tooth to restore your oral health.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a type of an endodontic treatment. From the Greek, “endo” means “inside” and “odont” means “tooth”. Simply put, endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth.
To better understand emergency root canal treatment, it is useful to know the anatomy of the tooth. The pulp of the tooth is a soft tissue located under the white enamel and below the hard dentin. The pulp is what creates dentin and enamel during the tooth development. It contains nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels.
The pulp extends from the roots of the tooth into the crown. It is crucial during the tooth development, but is not necessary once the tooth is fully mature. If the pulp gets infected, it requires a root canal treatment.
During the root canal procedure, a rubber dam is placed around the tooth to protect the surrounding teeth from being infected. Then, the inflamed pulp is removed, and the pulp chamber is carefully cleaned and disinfected. Finally, the root canal is filled and sealed.
A root canal in Ottawa is a serious, but very common procedure that is handled by either general dentists or endodontists in Ottawa on a daily basis.
Reasons for Emergency Endodontic Treatment
There are several common conditions that can lead to root canal damage:
- Bacterial Infections. This is the most common reason behind endodontic issues. Bacteria enter the dental pulp due to injury or tooth decay. The infected tooth pulp jeopardizes the health of the tooth and can lead to an abscess.
- Injuries. Teeth can be injured by a direct or indirect hit to the mouth area. Some injuries can cause a tooth to dislodge from its socket. A root canal treatment may be required once the dentist has stabilized the injured tooth in its place.
- Fractures and chips. When a part of the tooth or a dental crown has become completely detached, a root canal therapy may be needed. A fractured crown can leave the pulp exposed, causing strong toothache and sensitivity.
- Removals. If a tooth has been knocked out of its socket, it is crucial to rinse it and place it back into the socket immediately. If it is not possible, place the tooth in milk in order to keep the inner parts of the tooth alive while reaching out for emergency treatment. The tooth will be fixated in the socket with a special splint, and an emergency root canal treatment will be required to save the natural tooth.
Root Canal Symptoms
To avoid complications, it is important to look out for most common root canal symptoms and signs indicating potential endodontic problems:
- Persistent pain. Persistent toothache is one of the major signs that you may need a root canal. The pain can either go away from time to time or bother you constantly. You may either feel it in the bone of your tooth or in your jaw, face, or other teeth.
- Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold. Tooth sensitivity could feel like a sharp pain or a dull ache. If this feeling continues for an extended period of time, even after you stop eating or drinking, it may be a sign that you require a root canal.
- Tenderness and inflammation of the gums. Swollen gums near the aching tooth can indicate that an issue requires a root canal therapy. The swelling of the gums may come and go and cause tenderness when you touch them.
- Tenderness when biting and chewing. If your tooth is sensitive to touch, it could be caused by nerve damage or a severe tooth decay, which may indicate a root canal treatment.
- Tooth discolorations. An infection in the tooth pulp and the breakdown of the internal tissue can make your tooth look grayish-black. It is a good idea to visit your dentist if you notice your tooth changing colour.
- Tooth mobility. An infected tooth may feel looser in its socket. However, if several teeth feel loose, the mobility is likely to be caused by an issue other than a root canal.
How to Manage Root Canal Pain
If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity or pain, there are a few ways you can relive the pain at home while waiting to see your Ottawa dentist:
- Take over-the-counter painkillers, such as Advil or Tylenol.
- Place an ice pack or a cold compress over the tender area.
- Swish warm salty water around your mouth.
- Apply a hot compress to the inside of your jaw.
- Soak a cotton ball with apple cider vinegar and press it gently onto the affected tooth.
Does the Root Canal Hurt?
Emergency root canal treatment sounds scary, but the truth is that it is quite similar to getting a deep filling. Your Ottawa dentist will use local anesthesia, so you will feel no pain while the procedure is being performed.
If you have facial swelling or a fever associated with the infection, the dentist may prescribe you antibiotics beforehand to kill the infection and help minimize the pain.
While the emergency root canal treatment is similar to getting a deep filling, it takes much longer, as the dentist will need to clean out the decayed pulp, disinfect the roots, and, finally, fill them in.
Root Canal Recovery Time
With proper oral hygiene, any pain or discomfort after the procedure should only last a couple of days. The pain after a root canal treatment is typically mild, so you will likely need only over-the-counter pain relief medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If the pain persists for longer than three days, you should see your dentist for a follow-up.
It is also important to avoid chewing hard food immediately after the treatment, as it could increase the pain.
Choose Experienced Emergency Dentists in Ottawa
Do you think you could be a candidate for an emergency root canal treatment in Ottawa? In this case, it is crucial to choose a highly trained and experienced emergency dentist to perform the procedure. Luckily, at Rockcliffe Dental & Denture Centre, we have years of experience in providing emergency dental care and are determined to make sure that you come out of our office smiling again! Call our office today to learn more about our dental services.