Things to Know About Root Canal Treatment in UAE

“One thing I like less than most things is sitting in a dentist chair with
my mouth wide open.
And that I will never have to do it again is a hope that I am against hope hopen.
Because some tortures are physical and some are mental,
But the one that is both is dental.”

This is what the famous Frederick Ogden Nash wrote about visiting a dentistin his poem “This is going to hurt a little bit”. Does it sound familiar? If you are like me then it is most definitely true. In fact, many people are willing to suffer for long periods rather than make the dreaded but essential visit to a dentist. This is even more terrifying if you have a procedure like a Root Canal Treatment scheduled.

If you're about to have your first root canal treatment, you might be feeling pretty apprehensive about the procedure, especially given all the stories going about. Well, don't worry — we will give you a step-by-step walk-through of root canal treatment. Knowing what will happen ahead of time is more than half the battle; you will soon learn that it really is much ado about nothing.

What is a Root Canal or Endodontic Treatment?

The term "root canal" comes from cleaning of the canals inside the tooth's root. A root canal treatment is a procedure to repair and save blood or nerve supply of the tooth (called the ‘pulp'), when it has been infected through decay or injury. You may not feel any pain in the early stages of the infection. In some cases your tooth could darken in colour, which may mean that the nerve of the tooth has died (or is dying). This would need root canal treatment.

Why is the Root Canal Treatment necessary?

Some background will be helpful. The space inside the tooth called the pulp chamber houses the root canal system and pulp — the living tissue, including blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues, that keeps the tooth alive. If the pulp becomes infected, the infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth. This may eventually lead to an abscess - an inflamed area in which pus collects and can cause swelling of the tissues around the tooth. This can result in pain ranging from a dull ache to severe pain, and the tooth may be tender when you bite. It's important to see your dentist if you develop toothache. If your tooth is infected, the pulp can't heal by itself. Leaving the infected tooth in your mouth may make it worse. If root canal treatment is not done, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be taken out. There may also be less chance of the root canal treatment working if the infection within your tooth becomes established.

What to expect?

The aim of the treatment is to remove all the infection from the root canal. It is a time-consuming procedure. Most courses of treatment will involve two or more visits to your dentist. Before having root canal treatment, your dentist may take a series of X-rays of the affected tooth. This allows them to build up a clear picture of the root canal and assess the extent of any damage. Root canal treatment aka RCT is usually carried out under local anaesthetic. In some cases where the tooth has died and is no longer sensitive, it may not be necessary to use a local anaesthetic. At the first appointment, the infected pulp is removed and any abscesses can be drained. The root canal is then cleaned. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle. The tooth is checked at a later visit and when all the infection has cleared, the tooth permanently sealed with a filling or crown. RCT has a high success rate. In about 9 out of 10 cases a tooth can survive for up to 10 years after a RCT.

How do I care for my tooth afterwards?

Root-treated teeth should be looked after just the same as any other tooth. Remember to clean your teeth at least twice a day - first thing in the morning, last thing at night with fluoride toothpaste. Cut down on sugary foods and drinks, and have them only at mealtimes if possible. See your dental team as often as they recommend for regular check-ups.

Still worried about pain?

You may have heard people say that root canal treatment is very painful. However, the pain they feel is caused by an infection in the tooth, not by root canal treatment. A root canal is done to eliminate that pain. The root canal procedure itself is painless. A local anesthetic numbs the tooth and the surrounding area. Infact, with modern technologies and anesthetics, root canal treatment today is no more uncomfortable than having a filling placed.

It is easier to prevent pain than to make it go away once it has started. If you are still worried about managing pain, take ibuprofen (or, if you can’t take it e.g. because you have asthma, take paracetamol) before the local anaesthetic has worn off. Ask your dentist or endodontist which painkiller they recommend.

While the thought of having to get a root canal may put you on edge, the treatment itself is a solution to a problem. Once your tooth is treated, take excellent care of your smile with daily brushing and flossing and be sure to see your dentist regularly.

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