If a tooth becomes infected and a deep decay sets in, a root canal treatment may be necessary. Getting early treatment could prevent a lot of problems and there are a few signs to look for. If you have ever wondered what a root canal treatment involves then this article will give you the necessary information.

Why Root Canal treatments are necessary?

If a tooth is infected or badly decayed then a root canal treatment, known as Endodontics, is required to repair and save the tooth.

How does a tooth become infected ?

There are a number of parts to the tooth structure: the visible part is the crown and the root extends into the jaw bone, anchoring the tooth beneath the surface. The root has a hard exterior surface known as the Cementum but the centre consists of a soft pulp layer. When the blood supply or nerve tissue referred to as pulp is damaged, it breaks down and bacteria begins to multiply within the pulp chamber or canals. Infection or an abscessed tooth can be caused by the bacteria and other decay. If left untreated, an infection in the root canal can cause swelling that can spread to other areas including the face, head and neck.

How does the tooth get infected?

There are a number of reasons a tooth becomes infected: a deep decay, a crack or chip in the tooth, a trauma to the face or repeated dental work on a tooth and/or large fillings.

What does Root Canal Treatment actually involve?

A root canal treatments involves the removal of the nerve and pulp; allowing the inside to be cleaned out and sealed. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and abscesses may form.

What are the signs that treatment is needed?

Usual signs to look for include :-

  • Severe toothache, pain upon chewing or application of pressure
  • Discoloration (a darkening) of the tooth
  • Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
  • Prolonged sensitivity/pain to heat or cold temperatures (after the hot or cold has been removed)
  • A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums.

Unfortunately, it may be that it is only when the infection gets worse and the pain intensifies, that you will notice a problem and then need to get it checked out.

The dentist will administer anaesthetic before treatment so that the patient does not feel any discomfort. A course of antibiotics may be required where an abscess is present in order to reduce swelling in the week before the root canal treatment. This allows the dentists to then use anaesthetic for the actual root canal treatment itself. You can expect two visits to complete the treatment. A seal is normally provided by the fitting of a crown which provides the best form of seal and protects against any leaks in the root canal which will eventually lead to a failure in the root canal. You can expect root canal work to last an average of around ten years but often longer.

Find out more about Root Canal Treatment here.