A root canal treatment is a dental procedure we use to treat infection in the root canal system of the tooth. Root canal infections can be very painful and have serious consequences if left untreated. The infection is usually the result of decay, leaky fillings or traumatic damage to the teeth.
What is the Root Canal?
The root canal system extends from the crown, or visible part of the tooth, down to the soft tissue in the centre of the tooth. As the root canal of teeth runs into the jawbone, anchoring the tooth. It’s especially important to treat root canal infections as soon as possible.
Symptoms of a Root Canal infection
In the initial stages of a root canal infection, you will experience pain when biting or chewing food, especially when consuming hot or cold food and drink. You may also notice that your tooth has become loose. This indicates that the soft tissue inside the tooth has become infected, which your dentist will be able to confirm with an x-ray and some simple tests.
As the infection progresses, later symptoms can include swelling of the gums and face, pus oozing from the affected tooth and the tooth changing colour. Do not ignore any of these symptoms and see your dentist straight away.
Treatments to remove a Root Canal infection
To treat a root canal infection the soft tissue inside the affected tooth is removed or, in extreme cases, the entire tooth is removed, although we always prefer to salvage the tooth whenever possible.
Root canal treatments are done under local anesthetic to make them as comfortable as possible. If there is an abscess, this can be drained during the procedure. Once the infection has been removed the root canal is cleaned and filled, the tooth is then sealed with a protective filling or crown. In most cases a crown will be recommended, as this then helps to protect the remaining tooth.
A root canal treatment usually requires several visits, in most cases they can help to clear the infection and have your mouth feeling much better than it did before. In some cases, if the infection is very severe or extensive, the tooth may need to be extracted.