What is a root canal?
A root canal can save an infected tooth by treating the tissue inside the tooth if it has died or became infected. If the tooth is not treated it can result in a tooth extraction. The tissue inside the tooth is called the pulp or also known as the nerve of the tooth. If the pulp is infected, there can be irreversible damage, decay or cracks.
An untreated infection of the tooth pulp can also affect the jawbone and lead to an abscess. An abscess can be life-threatening if it continues to spread, so it’s important to get an infected tooth checked out by a dentist as soon as possible.
Symptoms of an infected pulp which requires a root canal:
The following treatments may be signals that you require:
- Severe tooth pain
- Pain on chewing or pressure
- Prolonged pain to hot or cold
- Decay near the nerve
- Chipped tooth
- Broken tooth
- High levels of tooth wear
- Continual dental work on a tooth
Root canal procedure:
Root canals can result in 2 or 3 dental appointments, all depends on how bad the infection is and how many canals there are.
We use an anaesthetic to numb the tooth before we do any work. We isolate the tooth from further contamination and then we create a small access point in the head of the tooth. Carefully, the infected tissue is removed and cleaned out. The area is disinfected and a dressing is placed within the tooth. Once the root canal is clean, the tooth is sealed.
The outside of the tooth needs to be restored. Sometimes a filling can be used, however, a crown is a common way to seal and protect the tooth as it can easily be broken. The crown helps protect the tooth long term and make it stronger.
Is it painful?
Don’t put off seeing a dentist if you think a root canal is needed. We use anesthetics so that you don’t feel the procedure. You will feel no or very little pain. If you experience a little bit of pain we can give you more anaesthetics so that you don’t feel anything.
After the procedure you may feel a little bit of discomfort or pain. If you are concerned about this we can advise of any medication you can get to help relieve any discomfort.