Root canal treatment

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.

When is a root canal required?

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.

Five signs of infection:

  1. Serious toothache when eating, or when you put pressure on the tooth. Does it hurt when you bite down hard?
  2. Excessively sensitive teeth. Does the sensitive pain linger after the initial contact with hot or cold foods or drinks?
  3. Darkening of your tooth. Has your tooth changed colour? This may be a sign of the nerve dying.  
  4. A small bump on the gum, close to the painful tooth.
  5. Tender or swollen gums around the tooth.

Why is it called a root canal?  

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.  

What does treatment involve?

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 Leicester 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 Lavender Dental & Implant Clinic. Following this, we create a custom made crown to fit your tooth and this is fitted at your second visit.

How do I avoid a root canal?

Root canal treatment can be avoided by practicing good dental care. Regular visits to your Leicester 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 Lavender Dental & Implant Clinic on 0116 222 1880 today to see if you require root canal treatment.

FAQs

Is root canal treatment painful?

A: Many endodontic procedures are performed to relieve the pain of toothaches caused by pulp inflammation or infection. With modern techniques and anesthetics, most patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure.

For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Follow your endodontist’s instructions carefully.

Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your endodontic treatment is completed. However, if you have severe pain or pressure or pain that lasts more than a few days, call your endodontist.

Is a good alternative to root canal treatment extraction?

Saving your natural teeth, if possible, is the very best option. Nothing can completely replace your natural tooth. An artificial tooth can sometimes cause you to avoid certain foods. Keeping your own teeth is important so that you can continue to enjoy the wide variety of foods necessary to maintain the proper nutrient balance in your diet.

Endodontic treatment, along with appropriate restoration, is a cost-effective way to treat teeth with damaged pulp and is usually less expensive than extraction and placement of a bridge or an implant.

Do I need to do anything else after my treatment is completed?

Root canal treatment is only one step in returning your tooth to full function. A proper final restoration of the tooth is extremely important in ensuring long-term success.

Contact your dentist within two weeks to arrange your next appointment. If your tooth is being treated in more than one visit, do not return to your dentist for the final restoration until the root canal treatment is completed.

Treatments

Crowns

At Lavender Dental & Implant Clinic we fit crowns (or caps) over an existing tooth to protect it from further damage, or to improve your overall smile if you have had an implant or have a discoloured or misshapen tooth.

Treatments

Fillings

When your tooth shows signs of decay, your Lavender Dental & Implant Clinic dentist can help to stop it before any further damage is caused. Fillings are applied to small and developing cavities to restore your tooth back to health.