Root canal treatment, also called "Endodontics", is recommended to treat infection of the pulp or nerve, which is at the centre of your tooth. This type of infection can create an abscess and the affected tooth can become discoloured or darker than surrounding teeth. Teeth which require root canal treatment are often more sensitive (particularly to hot food and drink) or even painful when chewing. There can also be swelling of gum tissue and even the face as the abscess worsens.
To understand the effects of a dental abscess, it helps to understand how it happens, what affect it has on your teeth and your health, and why timely treatment is so vital.
Bacteria can invade a tooth through decay in the tooth, or when a filling becomes loose or leaks, or when teeth are damaged through trauma. When bacteria reach the soft tissue of the pulp, which is located in the centre of the tooth and extends to the root, it can create infection that will eventually cause the pulp tissue to die. The pulp is part of the root canal system of your tooth and, when infected, can become an avenue for bacteria to enter tissue outside your tooth, through tiny blood vessels at your tooth’s root.
Evidence suggests that a long-term root canal system infection can reduce the chances of a successful root canal treatment in the future, so it is best not to leave active infection too long. At Oatlands Dental Lounge we take time to mechanically clean and chemically irrigate the tooth with anti-bacterial agents. We also isolate the tooth from neighbouring teeth, where possible, by using a “rubber dam” which is a shield that keeps saliva bacteria away from the tooth during your root canal treatment. This shield increases the chances of successful treatment, as well as helping to keep root treatment materials out of your mouth. This protection can allow you to be more comfortable and detached during your treatment.
Root canal treatments may have acquired some negative associations in the past with patients; however, new technologies allow us to clean out pulp infection in the most simple and pain-free way possible.
A local anaesthetic is used during your root canal procedure to ensure your complete comfort. Most patients find that their treatment experience is much like having a filling placed. Root canal treatment usually requires two appointments, but this will vary according to the anatomy of the tooth being worked on.
Once the infection has been cleaned out, your dentist will fill the root canal and seal your tooth with a filling or crown. Inflammation at the end of your tooth will then heal naturally.
A filled or decayed tooth with an abscess. The filling is removed to access the cavity. The root canals are reamed to remove the tooth nerves. Gutta-perchas are inserted to fill the root. These are then cut-off, sealed and the tooth filled. The abscess will reduce.
A crown may be necessary later.
After the treatment has settled, we may advise cuspal coverage, such as a crown, to protect the weakened tooth.
Following your root canal treatment, you can prevent future root canal problems by maintaining good oral hygiene, avoiding an excess of sugary foods, and quitting smoking (if you do smoke). Attending your regularly scheduled dental examinations is also crucial in order to ensure the earliest detection of potential problems, avoiding the risk of needing more complex root canal treatment.
Your dentist will explain your root canal treatment plan during your consultation, as well as provide you with a written treatment plan. Your comfort during any type of treatment is extremely important, and especially so with more involved treatments, such as a root canal, so we encourage you to ask us any questions that will help you to have a more informed, comfortable experience. Our procedures have been developed using advanced techniques to ensure reduced in-chair time and produce highly effective, positive results.
Root treatments on back teeth can be more complicated because they have a number of roots. The root canals are exposed. All roots then need to be excavated making sure that the entire tooth nerve is removed. The cavity is then filled with gutta-percha and the tooth then filled.
BDS (Hons.) MJDF RCS (Eng), MClinDent (FRP Lond) FICOI, MSc (Dental Implantology)
BDS (Lond) MJDF RCS (Eng)