The short answer to this question is, yes, you can. What’s more, you can even receive a root canal treatment with your braces already on.
Let me explain. First of all, the root canal procedure has gotten what some would call a “bad rep”. Ultimately, a root canal is just a special filling that may take a little longer to do than a regular filling. The purpose of this procedure is to eliminate a tooth’s diseased nerve, clean up and disinfect the area affected by it and fill the space with material that feels somewhat like rubber.
This is done because the area around the tooth is infected or inflamed by the diseased nerve (that’s why you feel pain there – usually diagnosed as an abcessed tooth) and the tissue (pulp) inside the tooth needs to be removed in order to stop the infection from spreading and save the tooth. Another way would be to remove the whole tooth, but it’s much better to save it. Saving the tooth is generally less expensive that replacing it with a bridge or implant and will preserve the bone in that area. Additionally, removing the tooth without replacing it allows the neighboring teeth to shift and can be award in appearance and function. And since root canal is pretty much a routine procedure today with a very high success rate, why take that risk?
What happens during a root canal?
The area around the tooth is anesthetized, so you won’t feel any pain. A tiny hole is made on the top of your tooth so the dentist can access the area inside the tooth and remove the infected pulp (tissue) and disinfect the canals. Both areas are then filled up with special dental material and sealed. The hole in the tooth is filled with either a temporary or permanent filling.
Root canal generally causes no more discomfort than a filling, but your tooth may feel sensitive for a few days – that’s easily relieved with Ibuprofen or some other over-the-counter pain medication.
How do braces affect a root canal procedure?
If you are already wearing braces, you can still easily get a root canal. The braces are designed to work around the teeth that need to be moved, and do not interfere with any work that’s being done inside the tooth (the area where root canal work is done). As well, depending on the type of braces you have, the orthodontist might just take your braces off before a root canal. And, braces can be put on teeth that have recently had root canals and crowns, but your orthodontist may decide to design the braces so they move your teeth a little more gradually.
So, in a nutshell, it is quite safe to have a root canal before, during, or after you receive your braces!