Root canal treatment is one of the most common procedures in modern dentistry and has certainly saved many from deaths via blood infections not to mention the pain that constant tooth infection can bring, but what is it?
Root canal treatment (known also as endodontics) is necessary when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth, called the pulp, becomes infected. The infection is often unable to felt in the early stages and may only become apparent when the tooth darkens in color. This darkening is a sign that the nerve of the tooth is dying. It is often under these circumstances that treatment becomes necessary.
Many people underestimate how essential the treatment can be, the pulp area, being located in the mouth is at a much higher risk of infection. If this occurs an abscess will form, an inflammation of tissue surrounded by pus, this can be incredibly painful as well as inviting further complications such as septicemia as well the more obvious danger of the tooth dying and having to be removed. Some people opt to simply have the tooth removed straight away in order to save the hassle of having the treatment, even if you wish to take that option do not simply leave the infection.
The procedure is a very routine one that can be carried out at your local dentist. You may also be referred to an ondodontist which is a medical specialist in this arena. It depends largely on how severe your infection is. The aim of the procedure is to remove all infected tissue from the pulp area in order to rescue the root of the tooth. The root is cleaned down in order to stop any further infections. You will then receive a temporary filling that will keep the space open while still allowing the tissue to heal.
Once the root has been allowed some time to heal the temporary filling will be replaced by your dentist with a permanent filling that has been specially shaped to fit the area created by the removal of the pulp. Sometimes the tooth has become brittle due to the previous nerve damage so it may also need to be crowned in order to restore its strength. This will be done at the same time as the second stage of the root canal treatment.
Whilst many people try and put off root canal treatment it is not the ordeal it once was, advances in anesthetics mean that virtually nothing is felt at all and whilst you may need a few days of eating soup there is nothing to fear whatsoever. The consequences of delaying treatment are much worse, the risk of blood poisoning and further infections are very real.
The good news is that root canal treatment is very successful and it is rare for it to need to be repeated. In terms of aftercare it is relatively simple requiring regular brushing and not eating foods likely to damage the repair. It may be a good idea to wash out your mouth with a salt solution once in a while simply to ensure any further bacterial growth is inhibited during the crucial recovery process.