Root canal will usually be the treatment of choice where there is infection or inflammation in a tooth. The process involves cleaning inside the tooth and filling it and is preferred to the alternative which would be tooth extraction.
Every one of your teeth has a root that fixes it into the jawbone. Inside each tooth are nerves and blood vessels that are called ‘the pulp’. This is the heart of the tooth and is connected through the roots of your teeth. That chamber is what we call the root canal.
When a tooth becomes damaged then it can be a way in for bacterial infection. Swelling and pain will follow if the pulp of the tooth get infected and that infection will then often spread through the root canal. Carrying out root canal treatment is a way to prevent having a tooth extracted.
These are some of the most common reasons for root canal treatment.:
If there is an infection and it is not treated then that infection can spread and cause an abscess with pus collecting under the tooth. This is a very painful condition and the tooth that is affected might even look darker than the others. This happens when the nerve in the tooth is dying. This kind of infection can also spread to the jaw-bone if no treatment is given and the tooth will have to be taken out. Root canal work is always only done by a dentist who will have a lot of experience in this. If the case is more complicated, however, you might be referred to an endodontist who specialises in root canal treatment.
When you see one of our dentists, you will be asked about the symptoms you have and about how severe the pain is. They might also ask questions about any relevant medical history and any other treatment you might have had. An x-ray will be taken of the tooth to identify precisely where the problem is and so that the dentist can ensure that the tooth is not too badly damaged for the treatment to take place. Sometimes root canal treatment can be completed in one visit but it is quite normal for it to take more appointments. You will be given a local anaesthetic.
It is sometimes the case that t tooth cannot be saved using root canal treatment. This will. be if the tooth has been badly damage or if there is severe gum disease that might prevent the healing process and will not give the tooth adequate support. Where this is the case the dentist will usually have to recommend you have the tooth out.
Once the local anaesthetic has numbed your tooth the dentist will put a thin rubber sheet in your mouth - a dental dam that will cover everything other than the tooth that is being worked on. This will help make sure that the area is clean and will stop any spread of infection.
With a drill, a hole will be made at the top of the tooth through which the pulp will be removed. The empty centre of the tooth will be cleaned out and irrigated to disinfect the tooth interior. Instruments used by your dentist will help make the canals more regular in shape to make the work and the cleaning as precise as possible.
When the tooth has been cleaned, it will be filled and sealed. Normally the dentist will fill the tooth with a temporary filling unless he or she is absolutely sure that no infection remains. A second appointment will be made for the permanent filling to be applied. If there is a lot of damage or wear to the teeth the dentist might also suggest that you have a crown fitted. This might be especially true of a back tooth that is relied on for chewing.
It is true that root canal treatment will be a bit uncomfortable and that is because you will have to sit still and have your mouth open for a long time. Our team of emergency dentists will do all they can to make you comfortable before the treatment starts.
When you have had a local anaesthetic you might feel a bit numb for several hours in the face so you need to be careful not to knock the area. If there is any pain after the anaesthetic wears off an over the counter pain killer should be sufficient.
Your next appointment to see the dentist will be given to you according to how the treatment went and what you were being treated for. There may be further x-rays and check-ups just to make sure everything is healing well. Occasionally it will be necessary to have further root canal treatment if any further decay develops or if the tooth cracks. It is very important that after treatment you take care of the tooth that has been repaired. This is what we recommend keeping your teeth your guns and your mouth healthy:
There might be some tenderness around the treated tooth but this should not last for very long. If you do experience any severe pain or pain that's getting worse , you should go back and see your dentist. It is also normal for the area around the treated tooth to be a bit bruised and swollen but this should improve within about 14 days from your treatment.
While it is true that all medical and dental procedures will come with some risk your dentist will be able to explain to you anything that applies to the procedure that you are having. In the vast majority of cases root canal treatment will be entirely successful but these are some of the problems that may rarely occur:
It is very rare that root canal treatment does not work but if this does happen you might have to have more treatment and this will be called re treatment. A re-treatment may also be appropriate even if the symptoms return years after you've had the original root canal treatment.
Discuss any concerns you have regarding your treatment with your dentist on.