Teeth have a hollow structure, housing soft tissues, blood vessels and nerves – known as the pulp. If bacteria enter the tooth, either following from an injury or through decay, it can infect the tissues. An infected tooth can have different symptoms but if left untreated, can become painful and result in the infection spreading.
Using root canal treatment, it’s possible to remove the infected pulp from within the tooth. This saves the tooth from needing to be extracted. The root canals are cleaned and shaped, then sealed off with a filling or a crown.
Why have root canal treatment?
- Avoids the need to replace a missing tooth which can be a much more costly procedure
- Clears the infection with minimum impact to overall oral health
- Protects the rest of the mouth from the infection
- Eliminates the chance of the tooth becoming re-infected as the pulp is removed completely
What does the treatment involve?
We start with taking an x-ray so the dentist performing the root canal can assess the extent of the infection.
The tooth and the area around it are numbed with a local anaesthetic. Your dentist will then start entering the tooth to reach the infected pulp. The infected tissues are removed and the canals are flushed, disinfected and reshaped. The roots are filled and sealed to prevent reinfection. Using either a filling or a crown, the tooth is fully restored.
Looking after your treated tooth
While having a root canal will prevent the tooth from getting infected, the tooth remaining is still vulnerable to gum disease and dental decay caused through bacteria. Keeping on top of your oral hygiene will give your tooth the best chance of a long life, just the same as the rest of your teeth.