Are you suffering with toothache, facial, gum or jaw swelling or a pimple on your gums? Root canal treatment; also referred to as a root canal filling or endodontics can help to prolong and preserve the life of a tooth.
Each tooth has an area of tissue in the middle called the ‘pulp’, which contains the nerve supply to your tooth. The pulp can become irritated due to decay, deep fillings, a fracture in the tooth or gum disease.
Symptoms of root canal infection may include sharp, intense pain when you bite down, a dull ache or pressure, or tenderness and swelling in the gums near an infected tooth. There may be lingering pain after eating cold or hot foods. However, sometimes an infected tooth may not give you any pain. This doesn’t mean the infection has gone, only that the nerve may have died. It is important that you make an appointment with your dentist if you suspect that you have any or some of these symptoms.
If not treated, an infected tooth will become very painful. Sometimes the pain will settle, however in time it will reoccur. Therefore, the treatment options are an extraction or a root canal filling.
Prior to treatment you will be given a local anaesthetic injection to numb the area, and then an opening is made in the top of the tooth down to the pulp. The dentist will use narrow files to remove the nerve and clean the tooth. X-rays may be taken to determine the length of your tooth roots and various different disinfectants will be used to ensure all bacteria are removed.
The dentist will then replace the pulp, with a material called Gutta Percha. This is necessary to prevent bacteria re-infecting the empty space where your nerve has been removed.
Then the tooth will be filled with an ordinary filling material. A final x-ray will be taken of the completed root canal filling.
Depending on the severity of your infection, the stages above may be done in more than one appointment.
At Valley Dental Practice we are able to carry out general root canal treatments. However, some cases can be harder to treat due to the location of the infection or the shape of the root/s on the tooth. In this case, we would refer you to an endodontist, who would use specialist equipment to carry out your treatment.
Your teeth may feel tender or sensitive for a few days. You can take over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication to help relieve pain or discomfort. Due to an absence of the nerve supply, the tooth can become brittle, and more likely to fracture or break. Therefore, we often recommend a crown after root canal treatment. Root filled teeth can also become darker following root canal treatment. If you are worried about this, we would once again recommend a crown or bleaching to make it lighter again.
Benefits of root canal treatment
Root canal treatment relieves pain – by removing the infected pulp and nerve, root canal treatment helps to alleviate pain and discomfort.
Root canal treatment saves your tooth – if left untreated the infection in the pulp of a patient’s tooth can cause the tooth structure to deteriorate. This means that the tooth will eventually become unsalvageable and will need to be extracted.
Root canal treatment prevent abscesses forming – in the early stages an infection can be painless, by undergoing root canal treatment at this stage it is possible to prevent the formation of an abscess.
Root canal treatment maintains confidence and self-esteem – with root canal treatment there is no need to worry about an un-sightly gap or expensive dental implant treatment to replace a missing tooth. Your smile will remain intact and looking its best.