If you have been experiencing severe tooth pain, it is possible that you may require root canal treatment. If your tooth has become damaged or cracked, you have tooth decay, large fillings or have recently had a trauma to the tooth, the chance of a root canal procedure increases, as these scenarios all leave your tooth open to infection.
Root canal treatment (or endodontics) is required when there is an infection deep within your tooth. The blood or nerve supply may be infected either due to an injury or a severe cavity. You may not experience any pain or discomfort during the early stages of an infection, however if your tooth changes colour and darkens that is a sign that your tooth nerve is in danger of dying. If left untreated, this kind of infection can not only be very painful, but can lead to a tooth abscess or even tooth loss.
The visible part of your tooth, above the gumline is called the ‘crown’. Below the gum, fixing the tooth to the jaw, is the ‘root’ of your tooth. The root canal system is a network that fills a central hollow area inside the tooth and down to the roots. Root canals are filled with loose connective tissue called ‘dental pulp’ and they are responsible for nourishing and hydrating the tooth, as well as reacting to hot and and cold.
When an infection takes hold, it is this pulp which becomes inflamed, which is why it may be painful to eat or drink. Eventually a bacterial infection will cause the pulp to die. It is important to see your dentist if you are experiencing toothache, as the infection will not go away of its own accord and antibiotics cannot be used to treat a root canal infection.
If left untreated, a deep infection can spread through the whole root canal system of your tooth. In this case, the pain may subside, as the infection will have removed all of the pulp.
Root canal treatment removes all of the infection from the tooth, before sealing the tooth to protect the damaged nerve and restore you back to good oral health. Endodontic treatment is always carried out by a specialist clinician and an anesthetic is used to keep you comfortable through the process.
When you first come into your local Bolton practice, we will take an x ray to assess the status of the infection. Then a local anaesthesia is administered to the area and a piece of rubber material called a ‘rubber dam’ is placed around the tooth the keep it dry and accessible throughout the procedure. Once you are fully anaesthetised, your dentist will use specially designed tools to remove the infected tissue. Once it is clear, a rubber compound is used to fill the tooth where the root canal tissue previously was. This is usually finished with a temporary filling. This is the completed stage of your first visit to Cahill Dental & Implant Clinic. Following this, we create a custom made crown to fit your tooth and this is fitted at your second visit.
Root canal treatment can be avoided by practicing good dental care. Regular visits to your Bolton practice for check ups mean that your dentist is in a good position to pick up on any problems you may not have noticed. They will check any current fillings or crowns for damage or cracks. By treating issues in the early stages you avoid infections and further complications that would ultimately lead to endodontic treatment.
Tooth decay is one of the common reasons for root canal infections. You can keep tooth decay at bay by brushing and flossing regularly, chewing sugar-free gum between meals and reducing the amount of fizzy drinks and sugar in your diet.
If you are experiencing tooth pain, contact Cahill Dental & Implant Clinic on 01204 526968 today to see if you require root canal treatment.
Root canal (endodontics)
Is a root canal treatment painful?
Many endodontic procedures are performed to relieve the pain of toothache caused by pulp inflammation or infection. At Portman, we use modern techniques and anaesthetics, and most people report that they’re comfortable during the procedure.
For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if you had pain or infection before the procedure. This can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Your endodontist will give you detailed instructions about how to relieve any pain.
Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your endodontic treatment is completed. However, if you have severe pain, pressure, or pain that lasts more than a few days, call your endodontist.
Root canal (endodontics)
What happens following endodontic treatment?
The root canal system inside your tooth has been thoroughly cleaned during your treatment, and any irritated tissue and bacteria are gone.
It’s normal to feel some tenderness in the area over the next few days as your mouth heals. You may also feel some tenderness in your jaw from keeping it open during the treatment.
These symptoms are temporary and usually respond well to over-the-counter pain medications, such as paracetamol. It’s important for you to follow the instructions on how to take these medications. Remember that narcotic medications, if prescribed, may make you drowsy, and you should avoid operating machinery or driving a car after taking them.
Root canal (endodontics)
Do I need to do anything else after treatment?
Root canal treatment is only the first step in returning your tooth, and the rest of your mouth, to full function. You’ll need a proper final restoration of the tooth to ensure long-term success.
Contact your Portman dentist within two weeks of treatment to arrange your next appointment. If your tooth is being treated in more than one visit by an endodontist, wait until the root canal treatment is completed before returning.