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What is Root Canal Treatment?
Believe it or not, all your teeth have feelings and have a nerve supply which enables us to sense pain, pressure, hot and cold. The nerve is contained in the core of the tooth extending into canals based in the roots of the teeth.
If this nerve supply is affected through tooth decay, trauma or gum disease, it can result in the nerve becoming exposed and infected which can result in pain. This is the tooth’s way of telling us something is wrong. However, this can also make it difficult to eat, drink and sleep.
If the nerve has become involved for any of the reasons mentioned above, a root canal treatment may be required. This is also known as endodontic treatment and involves using delicate instruments to gently clean out the root canals, remove any exposed or infected nerve tissues and wash them all out to ensure the root canal is clean. Once it has been adequately cleansed, a rubber type material is placed within the canal system to ensure that bacteria cannot re-enter the tooth and that it can then be restored to normal function. The success rates for this type of treatment are generally very high.
Without root canal treatment, the only other alternative is to remove the tooth and replace it with either an implant, dental bridge or removable denture. Whilst these alternatives can be very successful, they do not compare to a natural tooth.
If you are in pain and are nervous or anxious, please do let us know, as we are very accustomed to treating patients who have dental anxiety or phobias. If this is the case, we can arrange for you to have sedation which will make you feel calm, relaxed and more comfortable throughout the procedure.
Common indicators of root canal treatment
Possible issue – If this lasts only a few moments and goes away after the hot or cold has been removed, it is likely to be either a loose filling, gum recession or even a small cavity. It could also be a sign of the nerve being inflamed
What to do – Desensitising toothpaste can help in the first instance, and if this does not help then it is best to seek dental advice.
Possible issue – Lasting pain after hot or cold suggests that the nerve has been affected. This will likely need root canal treatment.
What to do – The best thing to do is seek immediate dental advice as, if treated quickly, it may be possible to avoid root canal treatment.
Possible issue – This can be due to a loose filling, a crack in the tooth or even some tooth decay. It can also be a sign of exposed nerve or damage to it.
What to do – Seek dental advice, as it is likely that the tooth will need to be repaired or alternatively need root canal treatment.
Possible issue – Constant pain is usually a sign that the nerve is involved and this will need treatment with a root canal treatment. Gum swelling indicates the presence of an abscess which is an infection related to the tooth. This will need to be treated separately with drainage or antibiotics.
What to do – Seek dental assistance as soon as possible as this can worsen and cause a more severe infection.