When damage to a tooth extends to the central area that contains the nerves, root canal treatment may be the solution.
What is root canal treatment?
Your dentist may suggest root canal treatment when a cavity extends to the root of the tooth or when a tooth is badly broken. When a tooth is seriously damaged, bacteria can find its way into the soft tissues and destroy the nerves. This can eventually lead to an abscess or infection in the soft tissue or the jawbone.
Symptoms of root canal damage include pain, swelling or a loose tooth. Not all damage is immediately visible on the surface so your dentist will need to take an x-ray to assess the extent of the damage.
How does it work?
Also known as endodontics, root canal treatment is the process by which damaged pulp is removed from the root of the tooth, the area is thoroughly cleaned to remove all traces of infection and the space filled with a root filling material. Treatment, which is carried out under local anaesthetic, is normally completed over two appointments. Once the root filling is completed, the tooth is restored using a filling or crown.
What happens after treatment?
Immediately after treatment you will need to take care with the area and avoid biting or chewing with the affected tooth until it has been fully restored. Following dental treatment, you should care for root-treated teeth in exactly the same way as the rest of your teeth.