Root canals are one of those things patients often feel unusually nervous about, but the reality is that most people find it no more uncomfortable than having a filling. Root canals are an excellent preservative dental treatment that can help save an infected tooth when the only other option would be to have it extracted. Removing a tooth is something we always strive to prevent.
Why might you need a Root Canal?
Without treatment the pulp in the centre of a decaying tooth will eventually die and continue to decay.
Root canals are carried out on teeth that have become infected, or where the central part of the tooth called the pulp has become damaged. A root canal treatment removes the pulp, cleaning out all of the canals before the tooth is sealed to prevent further infection.
If the pulp inside your tooth becomes damaged or exposed, bacteria can enter and rapidly multiply, causing infection. Without treatment, the pulp eventually dies and continues to decay. The bacterial infection will continue to spread throughout the tooth, eventually causing an abscess to form right at the tip of the tooth. In fact, the infection spreads right into the surrounding bone tissue and even into your body, leading to health issues that extend beyond your mouth.
Following a root canal, your newly restored tooth can function perfectly well.
Typical symptoms of an infected pulp include:
- Feeling severe toothache, or experiencing pain whenever you apply pressure to the tooth
- Experiencing prolonged sensitivity to hot and cold foods
- Noticing the tooth has become darker or discolored
- The gums around the tooth may begin to swell
If you experience toothache then it’s always worth contacting our dental surgery to make an appointment, even if the toothache seems to disappear. This is because there will always be an underlying reason as to why you developed toothache that will require investigation, and prompt treatment could help save your tooth. Sometimes it’s possible for the root canals and pulp to be infected, and to feel no symptoms whatsoever.
What is A Root Canal Procedure?
Root canals can often be done in one visit. We’ll need to take dental x-rays which will show us if there are any signs of infection in the surrounding bone, and these show us the shape of your root canals. The next step will be to remove the infection, and this is done by anesthetizing the tooth before accessing the pulp through the crown of the tooth. The pulp and root canals are cleaned out using a series of specially shaped files.
Once we’re sure all the bacteria have been removed then the tooth will be permanently sealed. The final step will be to restore the tooth. This is something that can be done through placing a dental filling, but if you have lost a significant amount of tooth structure then it might be necessary to crown the tooth or apply an onlay. Root canal treatment is usually highly successful, and many root-treated teeth can last for numerous years or even a lifetime.