Why Do I Need Root Canal Procedure?
Teeth are normally protected with a strong outer layer of dental enamel, but if this layer is breached by infection, decay or trauma, it can allow bacteria to get into the tooth. Without treatment, these bacteria will eventually reach the very central part of the tooth. This is called the pulp and contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues. If it becomes infected it can be very painful and this infection can spread out into the root canals that extend into the tooth roots and will eventually cause an abscess. Root canal procedure (sometimes called endodontic treatment) is a procedure that will remove the infection, saving the tooth from extraction.
If you do have toothache then please contact us for emergency dental care as it is possible you may have an infected tooth that requires root canal procedure. The sooner you seek treatment, the more likely we will be able to save the tooth which is always our preference. Teeth that are very badly infected or abscessed may need to be removed in order to clear up the infection.
Root Canal Symptoms
An infected tooth may hart when you bite or chew on it, or it may continually hurt. If you look at the tooth then it could look discolored or darker than normal and the gum surrounding it may appear swollen or red, or there may be a small pimple on the gum. The gums near to the infected tooth could also look swollen or may feel tender. You might have an unpleasant taste in your mouth and the affected tooth may be sensitive to hot or cold temperatures. Sometimes there won’t be any symptoms, particularly if the nerves in the pulp have died, but the infection will still be present.
Our dentist will carry out diagnostic tests to determine if a tooth is infected and may take dental x-rays as these help to show the extent of the infection and the shape and number of the root canals. The number of root canals can vary, as back teeth have a greater number than front teeth. Knowing the exact number and shape of the root canals is useful when planning root canal procedure.
During Root Canal Procedure
Root canal procedure can be carried out under local anesthetic and should feel similar to having a filling. Our dentist will access the pulp through the crown of the infected tooth so all the infected pulp tissues can be removed. Using specially shaped files, they will carefully clean out the root canals extending into the tooth roots, before disinfecting the entire area. At this stage the tooth may be temporarily or permanently filled. We sometimes place a temporary filling to make sure the infection has been eliminated before permanently restoring the tooth with a filling or a crown. This will be carried out at a later date so it is important to come back and see us for treatment to be completed.
Root canal procedure is a very successful treatment for saving badly infected teeth. A fully restored tooth can last for many years or we hope for life.