What is a Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy is the removal of the nerve from the inside of the tooth due to the tooth being badly damaged from decay, disease or injury. Treatment is required if the tooth becomes infected or inflamed. The aim of the treatment is to save the tooth. Without treatment the tissue surrounding the tooth may become infected and an abscess may form.
Why remove the nerve from the tooth?
Root canal treatment is replacing a tooth’s damaged or infected nerve with a filling. If the nerve is not removed:
- It becomes infected; it loses its ability to fight the spread of the infection. This can cause a severe infection or an abscess which can spread into the surrounding bone
- The infection may spread around the ends of the infected root and cause bone loss in the jaw.
- The tooth may need to be removed (extracted)
- The infection may cause swelling that may spread to other areas of the face, neck, or head
How can the tooth’s nerve be damaged?
The tooth’s nerve can become infected or inflamed if:
- there is decay beneath a deep filling or crown
- there is deep-seated and untreated dental decay
- the tooth has experienced trauma
- gum disease is present
- there is a crack or chip in the tooth
- there is extreme wear from habitual tooth grinding (bruxism)
- there is advanced gum disease
What are the possible symptoms?
Sometimes there may be no symptoms evident. But the symptoms that may indicate a problem with the tooth are
- Severe pain upon chewing or application of pressure
- Prolonged pain after eating/drinking something hot or cold
- Discolouration (a darkening) of the tooth
- Swelling and soreness in the gums surrounding the tooth
- A persistent or recurring pimple on the gum
- Unprovoked or spontaneous pain
- Loosening of the tooth
- Facial swelling