When tooth decay has attacked a tooth to the extent that it is dead or dying, it may be necessary to undergo a procedure called root canal treatment. This is a procedure that involves removing the decaying pulp from the center of the tooth in an effort to stop painful infections, which may spread eventually to other healthy teeth. Root canals can also be used to help treat tooth abscesses and infections likely to cause an abscess.
Although root canals have a bad reputation as a particularly unpleasant and painful surgery, this is not necessarily the case. Sometimes the procedure is little more than a routine filling and no more painful. The dentist performing the surgery will do all they can to eliminate the pain, and almost certainly there will be some sort of anaesthetic.
This is usually a two-step process which starts with a gelly-like substance being applied to the gums to densensitise them before a local anaesthtic is used to numb the teeth, gums and tongue. Once this has taken effect the dentist will then remove the decaying or dead pulp, sometimes using the dreaded drill. This iconic instrument is often the source of many fears about visiting the dentist but it really is a relatively simple procedure. Once the pulp is removed the remaining cavity is filled with medicine and filling material. This is then capped with a root canal filling before being topped with a crown if necessary. Numbness and mild pain is common for a couple of days after the procedure but this can be easily controlled using painkillers
Despite the nasty reputation, a root canal is a vital part of dentistry. Bacteria that lives in infected tissue can enter the bloodstream causing infections and health problems in other parts of the body, and even heart problems. Once a tooth is infected it is necessary to treat it and remove the infected tissue as soon as possible to prevent the spread of infection. Root canals perform this task without the need to completely remove the tooth.
An infected tooth can be a very painful experience. Toothache is not a laughing matter, which anyone who’s suffered from it will testify. If you are suffering pain in one or more of your teeth, have a tooth abscess or think you may need a root canal treatment, don’t let fear put you off. You need to make an appointment to see a London dentist as soon as possible to prevent the spread of infection and save your tooth. A Birkenhead dentist will be able to thoroughly check over your teeth for infection and provide any root canal treatments that are necessary.