One of the most unnecessarily feared dental procedures, root canal therapy is a common, straightforward procedure used to treat a dying, dead or inflamed tooth pulp to relieve pain and save the infected tooth. Dr Tony Heilberg is the bayside dentist trusted by Cheltenham and Parkdale locals. We have a long-standing reputation for providing the highest quality dental care in a relaxed and friendly environment. Let’s take a deeper look at root canal treatments, when you might need one and why there’s nothing to fear when you are in the right hands.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a simple dental treatment required when the pulp (soft tissue inside of the tooth containing blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue) deep inside of the root of the tooth becomes infected. Performed by a dentist or a specialist endodontist, a root canal treatment consists of removal of the infected pulp within the tooth and then sealing of the tooth to prevent against future infections. Without this treatment, the blood vessels and nerves inside the tooth can become severely infected, you may be at risk of losing your tooth and your general health and well-being can also be greatly impacted.
What Are the Signs You May Need a Root Canal?
Sometimes there may be no symptoms that a tooth needs root canal treatment, however some of the most common signs include:
- Persistent and severe pain in the tooth
- Loosening of the tooth
- Persistent swelling or tenderness of the gum
- Oozing of pus surrounding the affected tooth
- Facial swelling
Is a Root Canal Necessary?
An infected pulp of the tooth will not heal on its own, it will only get worse – antibiotics are not a long-term solution and can provide only temporary relief from pain. In some cases, the pain might disappear, this is usually a sign that the nerves inside of the tooth have died. While you may no feel pain, the infection is still present inside the tooth, the jaw-bone and as mentioned above – the whole body is affected by infection. The only alternative to a root canal treatment is extraction of the tooth but when we can, we prefer to save and restore teeth – we aim for you to have your own teeth as long as possible. If an extraction is the only solution and the tooth is unable to be saved with a root canal treatment? You then have the option to replace the tooth with a permanent bridge, implant, or partial denture. Dentists will generally recommend a root canal as this is the simplest way to relieve pain and retain the natural tooth.
What Is Involved in a Root Canal Procedure?
A standard root canal procedure often starts with a local anaesthetic to numb the affected area and establish a comfortable mouth for you – this also provides relief from pain you may have been experiencing. A small non latex sheet called rubber dam is placed around the tooth to keep it dry during the procedure. The tooth is then entered through a small access hole to enable the removal of the infection. The hollow canals within the tooth root are then cleaned minutely and shaped into smooth, hollow tunnels that are free of irregularities and infection. This is done using irrigation solutions, tiny files, special disinfectants and medication. The interior of the tooth is then filled with a rubber material called gutta percha and sealed to prevent bacteria from re-infecting. The access hole is then filled and permanently sealed with a long-lasting barrier material. Depending on the extent of the infection, you may need between one and three visits to complete the treatment.
Dr Tony Heilberg’s Dental Practice is your local bayside family dentist and our experienced team are here to provide maximum comfort to ensure you have a pleasant experience. If you are experiencing dental pain or feeling unsure if a root canal treatment is needed then make an appointment with us today and ensure your teeth and gums remain in optimal health.