Root Canal Therapy at Avenue Dental Surgery, Torquay
Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic therapy, is a course of treatment aimed to help eliminate infections from the pulp for a tooth, and to protect the tooth from future microbial invasion. Without a root canal, the infected pulp can lead to the loss of a tooth.
What is a root canal infection?
Root canal treatment is needed most commonly when the pulp of a tooth (the blood or nerve supply to the tooth) is infected, whether through decay or by injury. When the pulp becomes infected, it can spread through the root system of the tooth. Infections of the root canals are unique in that the blood vessels supplying the tissues there die because there is no blood supply, there’s no immune response carried through the blood. This creates a pocket where the bacteria and stay and multiply, unchecked by your own immune system. This can lead to an abscess, where infection collects and swells the tissue. This can cause the infection to spread even further.
Symptoms of a root canal infection
The sooner you act upon a root canal infection, the better. If the infection is left to grow, it can result in the loss of the tooth and the spread of the infection to other parts of the body. Some symptoms that indicate that you may need root canal treatment are:
- Severe pain, especially when chewing or biting
- Sensitivity and pain when exposed to hot or cold temperatures
- Discolouration of the tooth; if it gets darker, it is a sign the blood vessels have died
- Swelling and tenderness in gums
Sometimes, root canal infections do not show any of the signs shown above, but your dentist should be able to recognise an early infection during a check-up and with the help of radiographs.
The aim of root canal treatment is to completely eliminate the infection. This begins with a radiograph to see how affected the area is. A local anaesthetic will be applied. The treatment involves opening the tooth through the crown, often accessing the pulp through the cavity. They will remove the pulp of the tooth and drain any abscesses caused by the infection. Following the treatment, either a temporary filling or permanent filling will be placed. This process can take several hours, so a couple of visits may be necessary.