Root canal treatment
can save your tooth.
Root Canal Therapy is necessary when the inside of the tooth and area around it becomes infected due to cracking, deep decay or injury. “Endodontics” is the area of dentistry dealing with root canals, it literally means inside the tooth.
Pain is usually the first sign of an infected tooth, this is when the nerves and “pulp” contained within the tooth is decaying and can cause severe pain which needs to be attended to immediately.
A diseased tooth pulp may cause inflammation or infection. The symptoms of a damaged or diseased tooth pulp may include:
- Unprovoked or spontaneous pain
- Sensitivity to hot and cold drinks and foods
- Pain when biting or chewing
- Loosening of the tooth
- Swelling of the gum near the affected tooth
- Oozing of liquid surrounding the affected tooth
- Facial swelling
Sometimes, tooth pulp may become damaged or diseased without presenting any symptoms. In these cases, the problem is usually diagnosed by special tests or x-rays during a dental check-up or treatment for other dental concerns.
Our dentist will listen to your symptoms, examine your teeth and other special investigations including taking digital x-rays. These x-rays also help the dentist to plan for the root canal treatment by revealing the number, size and curvature and depth of the roots. This will help to determine the complexity of the case.
The optimal long-term result is to save the tooth and prevent it from future infection, giving you a tooth that is strong and that will last as long your other healthy teeth.
This is achieved by:
- Removing all of the damaged and decay inside the tooth
- Cleaning, sterilising the area
- Filling and sealing this space with advanced materials and hardware
The visible face of the tooth can then capped with a crown or complex filling depending on the strength of the remaining natural tooth structure and your requirements.
Why have Root Canal Therapy?
Keeping your natural teeth for as long as possible is important for your overall health, wellbeing and enjoyment of all types of food.
Root canal treatment allows you to maintain the structure of a natural tooth and regenerate healthy bone structure.
If the infection is left untreated, complications could include:
- Spreading infection
Once the pulp becomes infected, it loses its ability to fight the spread of the infection. If bacteria find their way into the pulp chamber, the bacteria will multiply unchecked. This can cause a severe infection or an endodontic abscess when it spreads into the surrounding bone (a pocket or ‘blister’ of pus).
- Localised bone loss
The infection may spread around the ends of the infected root canal and cause bone loss in the jaw leading to more complex surgery.
- Loss of tooth
The tooth may have to be removed, which interferes with your ability to bite and chew. Tooth replacements such as dentures, bridges and dental implants may not be possible or may not be tolerated. They may be more costly and involve other issues that also need to be considered.
If you have an infected tooth, bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause infections in other parts of the body. People who have a hard time fighting off infections may need to take antibiotics before and after a root canal. Such people include those who have artificial heart valves or were born with heart defects.