Root Canal Therapy
Sometimes the inside of a tooth (the pulp) can become inflamed and infected, which can lead to considerable tooth pain. If you are experiencing significant tooth pain we recommend you call in to book an emergency appointment.
We will thoroughly examine your tooth and your symptoms, as well as take X-rays to determine whether or not root canal therapy is the most appropriate course of treatment. We may also refer you to a dental specialist called an endodontist for more complex cases.
Teeth with a history of large fillings, significant decay, trauma or periodontal disease are more likely to need a root canal at some point. The goal of root canal therapy is to save the tooth by removing the infected pulp and sealing it up to prevent any future infection.
What does a Root canal treatment involve?
Inside your teeth, there is the tooth 'pulp' which contains a bundle of nerves and tissues with blood vessels which give nourishment to the tooth, keeping it healthy. However when there is decay or infection, the pulp of the tooth gets infected and inflamed and may cause intense pain. At this stage, it may need to be removed to stop your toothache or remove the infection. The procedure refers to removing the infected nerve and pulp from the tooth, cleaning out the inside of the tooth and sealing it for protection.
The root canal procedure is completed over two appointments. The first generally involves drilling into the tooth from the top and removing the infected pulp from the root canal and pulp chamber. Antibiotics are then placed directly inside the empty root canal to sterilise it. At the next appointment the whole root canal is sealed with a rubber-like material to prevent future infection and a final filling is placed on top to seal root canal and to fill in the hole that was drilled at the top.
Once root canal therapy is completed, the tooth is more brittle and prone to fractures. We therefore often recommend placing a crown on top of a root canal treated tooth to hold the tooth together, giving it strength and providing the best long-term outcome.
How do I know if I need Root Canal Treatment?
One of the main causes of a infection at the root and/or pulp is deep decay. Trauma to the teeth may also cause damage to the tooth to lead to an infection of the pulp. In both cases, pulp infection usually comes with toothaches and if left for too long, may lead to the death of the tooth. Whatever the cause may be, be sure to visit a dentist to assess the problem if a tooth starts to bother you.
There are many signs that may indicate the need for root canal therapy. While some patients may exhibit little to no symptoms at all, there are some some signs that may suggest problems in the roots or pulp of your teeth.
Here are some of the signs that may lead to you needing a root canal:
- Toothache on biting or chewing, or a constant bad toothache
- Discolouration of the teeth
- Recurring abscess or pimples on the gums
- Swellings with pus draining out
- Sensitivity to hot or cold drinks
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact Balmoral Dental Center at (07) 3399 6288 or book an appointment here.
Why should I get Root Canal Treatment?
Root canal treatments replace the infected pulp of the tooth, and come with several benefits. If the infected pulp was causing you toothache, starting the root canal treatment can get you out of pain straight away. If not treated, the nerves and tissues can cause gum infections, where you may also develop a painful abscess as the infection persists, resulting in more painful episodes and finally, the death of your tooth.
Instead of having to extract your natural tooth, having a root canal treatment will also prolong the lifespan of the tooth. Although we have technology to replace missing teeth such as implants, bridges or even dentures to save your from having a gaping hole in your smile, these can often be expensive. Getting a root canal means you end up with a healthy tooth, with its original functions intact while keeping a totally natural appearance.
We recommend patients especially when they are younger, to keep their natural teeth for longer by getting a root canal and avoid extracting the teeth. Earlier teeth extractions can cause the jawbone to recede, making it harder to replace the tooth later down the track. Find out more about this here.
If you think you may need a root canal, contact us at (07) 3399 8266 or on our online enquiry page here.