Lose the pain. Keep the tooth.
Root canal treatment – not a phrase that fills many with delight, but one that we really can put a positive spin on. Root canal (endodontic) surgery is best viewed as the ‘hero’ procedure that rescues teeth from ultimately having to be removed. Root canal treatment involves removing infection from inside the tooth and these days, the high-tech procedure is considered as routine as getting a filling. Our dental practitioners have a wealth of experience treating root canal patients, with state-of-the-art facilities and pain-management techniques.
Causes and symptoms
Deep inside each tooth is a mixture of blood vessels and nerves – also known as ‘pulp’. This can become infected in a number of ways – through tooth decay and gum disease, for example, or through injury, cracking or stress caused by repeated treatments. Broken crowns and damaged fillings are also major culprits.
Root canal symptoms often come in two waves. Early indicators include toothache, sensitivity to hot and cold foods, and pain when eating and drinking. When the infected pulp dies, these symptoms may subside – but don’t be tempted to put off seeing your dentist! When the infection spreads to the root canal, those early symptoms come back more aggressively – this time accompanied by pain and swelling to the face and gums, and an abscess around the infected tooth, which will often appear dark in colour. In this scenario, contact Hunslet Dental Surgery immediately for an emergency dentist appointment.
The root of a tooth contains a bundle of soft tissue and nerve endings known as dental pulp. If tooth decay penetrates this far, the dental pulp becomes infected and can cause severe toothache – sometimes even a tooth abscess.
The causes of tooth infection are varied – deep decay due to cavities or gum disease, cracked fillings or crowns, and damage as a result of trauma, or even teeth grinding. Whatever the reason, a root canal treatment will prevent the need for tooth extraction and future costly treatments.
Root canal treatment is carried out under local anaesthetic and is usually a straightforward procedure, rather like getting a filling. Once the tooth is completely numb, the dentist will use a series of tiny instruments to open up the tooth and extract the infected pulp. The remaining space is cleaned and shaped, ready for filling with a rubbery substance called gutta-percha. A temporary filling is usually placed on top – the permanent restoration would be carried out in a separate appointment.
You can carry on as normal once the anaesthetic has worn off, though the full healing period will take around a week – just be careful with what you eat, how you chew and maintain an excellent oral hygiene routine.