Root canal treatment is a dental procedure used to treat the infection ‘inside of the tooth’ (commonly referred to as the pulp). The pulp can become infected when bacteria living in our mouth invade the tooth. Commonly, this happens after:
- Tooth Decay (caries)
- Fillings that are leaking
How will I know if I need root canal?
Root canals are necessary when a clinical examination and x-rays reveal the pulp (inside of the tooth) are damaged with infection. If you need root canal treatment, you may develop one or more of the following symptoms:
Generalised pain with a tooth, and sometimes pain on biting
A swelling or dental abscess
Extreme sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks
A loose tooth
What happens if I don't have it done?
It's important to see your dentist if you develop toothache. If your tooth is infected, the pulp cannot heal by itself. Leaving the infected tooth in your mouth may make it worse leaving rise to a dental abscess (swelling). An untreated abscess may also spread to surrounding structures and if left untreated, may result in severe medical complications. The alternative to having root canal treatment would be to have the tooth extracted.
Is treatment painful?
Root canal treatment requires skill, and is generally a time-consuming process. However, it should feel no different to having a routine filling done and generally does not hurt at all. At Burridge Dental Practice we want you to feel comfortable about every aspect of treatment. You will be able to talk openly to our staff and treatment will be tailored around your specific needs All dentists perform root canal treatment using high magnification ensuring excellent visibility and treatment outcome.
What happens after?
Root canal treatment generally has a very good prognosis. Studies demonstrate a survival rate of 70-96%. After root canal treatment it is common for the tooth to discolour slightly. If treatment is performed on a front tooth you may choose to speak to your dentist to enquire about further cosmetic treatment to help mask any discolouration.
After root canal treatment, back teeth may become more brittle and are more vulnerable to cracks and fractures. Therefore, we often recommend a dental crown to preserve and protect the remaining tooth structure.