For cases where the internal soft tissues of the tooth have become infected, root canal treatment is necessary to deal with the infection and save the tooth. The treatment stops the infection in its tracks and protects your mouth from further infection. The soft tissues, known as the pulp, can become infected for a number of reasons. The most common reasons are decay, a deep filling or trauma to the tooth. Symptoms can include pain, increased sensitivity to temperature, discolouration, a metallic taste, gum tenderness or swelling.
Why have root canal treatment?
- Relieve tooth pain.
- Save a tooth that might have otherwise been extracted.
- Removes a source of infection that could spread to other areas.
- Prevents further problems that are caused from having a missing tooth.
- Less expensive than filling a gap.
What does root canal treatment involve?
Root canal therapy usually requires several appointments, but your dentist will be able to explain the treatment plan before it begins. The number will depend on which type of tooth is being treated. Between appointments, the tooth will be covered and temporarily restored.
- We first start with an x-ray to check the root canals and see if there are any other signs of infection.
- The infected pulp is removed under a local anaesthetic and root canals are shaped and flushed with an anti-bacterial solution.
- The freshly cleaned root canals are then filled to seal the tooth and prevent bacteria from entering.
- The finishing touches involve restoring the tooth, either with a white filling or a crown.
Although root canal therapy has a reputation for being painful, the procedure should be no more uncomfortable than having a normal filling.