Root canal therapy involves the removal of a tooth’s pulp when it is severely infected or diseased in order to save and preserve the function of your natural tooth.
The tooth pulp refers to the tissue containing nerves and blood vessels found within the centre of each tooth. Causes of pulp disease include cracked teeth, deep cavities or decay and trauma or injury (i.e. from being knocked in the tooth). If left untreated, there is a potential for extremely painful dental abscesses (pus collections) to form, discomfort from gum swelling and the eventual loss of the tooth. It is always best to save a natural tooth from permanent loss rather than using a prosthetic.
Your dentist may initially prescribe you analgesia (pain medication) and antibiotics to curb your discomfort and settle the infection in the short term. However the underlying issue will persist until the root cause (i.e. the inflamed, dying nerve) is removed via root canal treatment. The treatment itself is conducted over two to three appointments. The first step involves removing the diseased pulp and cleaning the remaining space left behind (the root canal). The canal is then disinfected before being sealed off with a temporary medication to relieve pain and kill off the infection. Once pain free, the temporary filling and medication is cleaned out again and permanently sealed to restore the tooth.
Some common signs and symptoms which indicate that you may need a root canal include:
- severe tooth ache or sharp pain (i.e. especially when biting down);
- gum swelling;
- sensitivity or discomfort to extreme temperatures in the mouth;
- darkening or discolouration of the affected tooth.
Root canal therapy may sound formidable however the fear of treatment is worse than the treatment itself. Visitors to Maudsland Dental Care would know that it can be a relatively simple and painless procedure and similar to experiencing a regular filling.