Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment

It is important to treat any problems you are having with root canals at the earliest possible stage. If left untreated, an infection can be created which is painful and sometimes dangerous. If you would like more information on how to treat cracked teeth or look at root canal treatment options, please contact our practice where we will be happy to discuss any questions you may have.

If you have been experiencing severe dental pain, it is possible that you may require root canal treatment. If your tooth is damaged, you have a hole in a tooth, a recent trauma to a tooth or just large deep fillings, the chance of a root canal procedure being required increases, as these scenarios can all leave your tooth open to infection.

When is a root canal required?

Root canal treatment (or endodontics) is required when there are signs that the nerve in your tooth is dying or has died, and you are beginning to get an infection on a tooth. Often, the blood supply to the tooth has been cut off or damage, and may be infected, either due to an injury or a severe cavity. You don’t always experience pain or discomfort during the early stages of an infection, however if left severe pain will eventually start. If left untreated, you can form a dental abscess and the chances of you losing a tooth are increased.

Five signs of infection:

  1. Serious toothache when eating, or when you put pressure on the tooth. Does it hurt when you bite down hard?
  2. A small bump on the gum, close to the painful tooth.
  3. Excessively sensitive teeth. Does the sensitive pain linger after the initial contact with hot or cold foods or drinks?
  4. Darkening of your tooth. Has your tooth changed colour? This may be a sign of the nerve dying.
  5. Does the area feel hot to touch?
  6. Tender or swollen gums around the tooth.

Why is it called a root canal?

The visible part of your tooth, above the gumline is called the ‘crown’. Below the gum, fixing the tooth to the jaw, is the ‘root’ of your tooth. The root canal system is a network that fills a central hollow area inside the tooth and down to the roots. Root canals are filled with loose connective tissue called ‘dental pulp’ and they are responsible for nourishing and hydrating the tooth, as well as reacting to hot and and cold.

When an infection takes hold, it is this pulp which becomes inflamed, which is why it may be painful to eat or drink. Eventually a bacterial infection will cause the pulp to die. It is important to see your dentist if you are experiencing toothache, as the infection will not go away of its own accord and antibiotics cannot be used to treat a root canal infection.

If left untreated, a deep infection can spread through the whole root canal system of your tooth. In this case, the pain may subside, as the infection will have removed all of the pulp.

What does treatment involve?

During root canal treatment we aim to removal all of the infection from the tooth, before sealing the tooth to prevent any infection from returning. Treatment is always carried out with anaesthetic so it is a painless procedure.

Once numb, your dentist will access the nerve chamber of the tooth and begin cleaning out the canals with antiseptics. A rubber sheet is used around the tooth to isolate the tooth, protect the patients tongue and ensure comfort for the patient. Once clean, the canals are sealed with a rubber material before a restoration placed into the access space the dentist created. Once completed, the tooth will require a crown to reduce the risk of the tooth fracturing.

How do I avoid a root canal?

Root canal treatment can be avoided by practicing good dental care. Regular visits to the dentist for check ups mean that your dentist is in a good position to pick up on any problems you may not have noticed. They will check any current fillings or crowns for damage or cracks. By treating issues in the early stages you avoid infections and further complications that would ultimately lead to endodontic treatment.

If you are experiencing pain, contact us on 01642 315745 for an urgent appointment, or book online!

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