Root Canal Treatment
Save Your Tooth from Extraction with a Root Canal Treatment
A root canal is needed when the pulp (the soft tissue inside the tooth normally containing nerves and blood vessels) becomes inflamed
or infected as a result of:
+ Injury or trauma
+ Deep decay
+ Large fillings
Signs of pulp damage may include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discolouration of the tooth, swelling, tenderness of the overlying gums or a bad taste in the mouth. On the other hand, there may be no symptoms at all. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can eventually cause pain, swelling, loss of the supporting bone and loss of the tooth.
What does it involve?
The aim of the treatment is to remove all infection from the root canal. The root is then cleaned and filled to prevent any further infection. Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. Most courses of treatment will involve two or more visits to your dentist.
At the first appointment, the infected pulp is removed. Any abscesses, which may be present, can also be drained at this time. The root canal is then cleaned and shaped ready for the filling. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle. The tooth is checked at a later visit and when all the infection has cleared, the tooth is permanently filled. Sometimes it may be necessary to restore the tooth with a crown to provide extra support and strength to the tooth.
After root canal treatment the tooth is pulp-less i.e. it has no vital tissues within. However, there are vital tissues surrounding the root e.g. the gum, periodontal membrane and supporting bone. A root canal treated tooth can function normally and can be maintained with routine dental care and oral hygiene measures.
Is root canal treatment painful?
Root canal treatment procedures are relatively comfortable and often painless as the tooth is anesthetised during treatment. After treatment, the tooth may be sensitive or tender for a few days due to inflammation of the surrounding tissues. This discomfort can be relieved by taking mild analgesics or painkillers available over the counter at the pharmacy. However, if the pain persists and is severe, or a swelling occurs, you should contact the dentist.
What about aftercare?
Root-treated teeth should be treated just the same as any other tooth. Remember to clean your teeth for two minutes, twice a day with a flouride toothpaste. Cut down on sugary foods and drinks, and keep them only to mealtimes if possible. See your dentist as often as they recommend for regular check-ups.