Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment involves removing infected tissue from your tooth, cleaning it and then filling it to prevent further damage or infection.
When the pulp in your tooth becomes infected it can spread to the root canal and your tooth may become painful. If the infection spreads further it can cause a tooth abscess, which is a collection of pus. This can be painful and tender when you bite down on your tooth and can cause swelling around your tooth and jaw. Sometimes your tooth may look darker in colour than your other teeth, which means that the nerve inside your tooth is dead or dying. Without treatment the infection may spread further into your jawbone and you may need to have the tooth taken out.
The pulp in your tooth can become infected with bacteria if your tooth becomes damaged. This can happen in a number of ways. These include:
- severe tooth decay
- an injury, such as a blow to your mouth
- cracked or loose fillings, or repeated fillings in your tooth
- gum disease
The aim of root canal treatment is to remove the damaged pulp and the bacteria that are causing the infection. Your dentist will drill a hole into the tooth to the root canal and remove the pulp and infected tissue. He or she will then clean and fill the empty root canal and put a permanent seal over the top of your tooth. This can take several hours and may have to be done over more than one visit.
You may need pain relief to help with any discomfort as the anaesthetic wears off. If you need pain relief, you can take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol. Always read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine and if you have any questions, ask your pharmacist for advice.