Root Canal Treatment
When the nerve of a tooth is infected due to decay or trauma, a root canal is often needed. The early symptoms of infection may not cause any pain. Sometimes, the affected tooth will change colour and become a darker colour, meaning the nerve of that tooth is about to die (or died already) This is when root canal treatment is needed.
Root canals – Why is treatment needed?
When the pulp in the tooth becomes infected, there is a risk it will spread, leading to an abcess which can be very painful. Inflammation around the abcess will occur and pus collection will cause swelling in the gum tissue surrounding the tooth. A tooth extraction may be needed if a root canal procedure is not carried out to deal with the infection.
I’ve heard root canal treatment is painful, is that right?
A local anaesthetic will be administered to numb the gum around where you have the root canal treatment. Following treatment, the gum may be tender for a while but this will ease of the course of a few days normally.
The aim of root canal treatment is the eradication of all infection. The root canal is cleaned then filled and this helps to prevent further infection.
The treatment takes time and skill to perform and will most likely involve two visits to your dentist.
The first appointment will involve removing the pulp which has become infected and any pus filled abcesses drained of their fluid. The root canal will then need to be cleaned and made ready for a filling to be inserted. This will be a temporary filling initially while the time is given time to settle following the root canal treatment.
On the second visit, the tooth will be checked to make sure all infection has gone and if so, a permanent filling will be added.
If you decide not to have a root canal for a particular tooth, then the alternative is to have the tooth extracted. Leaving an infected tooth in the mouth isn’t recommended so having it out is the only alternative currently.
After root canal treatment, is the affected tooth safe?
Yes it is, but be aware that the tooth will be dead and will be more brittle than your other, more healthy teeth. A crown may be needed to give extra support to the tooth.
Is root canal treatment carried out at the dental surgery?
Being a routine procedure in dental practices all over the UK, your dentist will be able to carry out the treatment for you.
As with your other teeth, a root treated tooth should be brushed and cleaned daily.