When bacteria find there way into the centre of the tooth (because of decay, leaking filling, tooth fracture or trauma etc.) an inflammatory reaction occurs which can result in toothache and ultimately an abscess. Sometimes no pain is experienced and the nerve dies quietly resulting in a slowly progressing infection.
At any stage root canal treatment can be carried out to prevent spread of infection and in order to save the tooth. As the cause of the problem is bacterial infection, successful root canal treatment is effective disinfection of the inside of the tooth. The tooth is isolated under a rubber dam and after the inside of the tooth is accessed it is soaked in a disinfectant. Small nickel titanium and stainless steel instruments are used to gently clean and shape the inside of the tooth down to the tip of the roots, allowing disinfectant to work effectively. Dr. Tait uses the latest surgical microscope in order to be able to see inside the tooth and work to a degree of accuracy that was not previously possible. Once completed, a plastic filling material is used to fill the root canal space and prevent reinfection.
After the final visit with Dr. Tait you must return to your dentist to have a crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function.
You should not chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have had it restored by your dentist. The unrestored tooth is susceptible to fracture, so you should see your dentist for a full restoration as soon as possible. Otherwise, you need only practice good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular checkups and cleanings.
Most endodontically treated teeth last as long as other natural teeth. In a few cases, a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment does not heal or the pain continues. Occasionally, the tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment. Often when this occurs, redoing the endodontic procedure can save the tooth.
New trauma, deep decay, or a loose, cracked or broken filling can cause new infection in your tooth. In some cases, additional or very narrow or curved canals are located that could not be treated during the initial procedure.
If you have been experiencing severe tooth pain, it is possible that you may require root canal treatment. If your tooth has become damaged or cracked, you have tooth decay, large fillings or have recently had a trauma to the tooth, the chance of a root canal procedure increases, as these scenarios all leave your tooth open to infection.
Root canal treatment (or endodontics) is required when there is an infection deep within your tooth. The blood or nerve supply may be infected either due to an injury or a severe cavity. You may not experience any pain or discomfort during the early stages of an infection, however if your tooth changes colour and darkens that is a sign that your tooth nerve is in danger of dying. If left untreated, this kind of infection can not only be very painful, but can lead to a tooth abscess or even tooth loss.
The visible part of your tooth, above the gumline is called the ‘crown’. Below the gum, fixing the tooth to the jaw, is the ‘root’ of your tooth. The root canal system is a network that fills a central hollow area inside the tooth and down to the roots. Root canals are filled with loose connective tissue called ‘dental pulp’ and they are responsible for nourishing and hydrating the tooth, as well as reacting to hot and and cold.
When an infection takes hold, it is this pulp which becomes inflamed, which is why it may be painful to eat or drink. Eventually a bacterial infection will cause the pulp to die. It is important to see your dentist if you are experiencing toothache, as the infection will not go away of its own accord and antibiotics cannot be used to treat a root canal infection.
If left untreated, a deep infection can spread through the whole root canal system of your tooth. In this case, the pain may subside, as the infection will have removed all of the pulp.
Root canal treatment removes all of the infection from the tooth, before sealing the tooth to protect the damaged nerve and restore you back to good oral health. Endodontic treatment is always carried out by a specialist clinician and an anesthetic is used to keep you comfortable through the process.
When you first come into your local Edinburgh practice, we will take an x ray to assess the status of the infection. Then a local anaesthesia is administered to the area and a piece of rubber material called a ‘rubber dam’ is placed around the tooth the keep it dry and accessible throughout the procedure. Once you are fully anaesthetised, your dentist will use specially designed tools to remove the infected tissue. Once it is clear, a rubber compound is used to fill the tooth where the root canal tissue previously was. This is usually finished with a temporary filling. This is the completed stage of your first visit to Edinburgh Dental Specialists. Following this, we create a custom made crown to fit your tooth and this is fitted at your second visit.
Root canal treatment can be avoided by practicing good dental care. Regular visits to your Edinburgh practice for check ups mean that your dentist is in a good position to pick up on any problems you may not have noticed. They will check any current fillings or crowns for damage or cracks. By treating issues in the early stages you avoid infections and further complications that would ultimately lead to endodontic treatment.
Tooth decay is one of the common reasons for root canal infections. You can keep tooth decay at bay by brushing and flossing regularly, chewing sugar-free gum between meals and reducing the amount of fizzy drinks and sugar in your diet.
If you are experiencing tooth pain, contact Edinburgh Dental Specialists on 0131 225 2666 today to see if you require root canal treatment.