Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy, also known as RCT, is provided to save a tooth that is infected or has an inflammation of the nerve inside the tooth. If you suffer from this, you may experience severe sensitivity to cold or hot, a discoloured tooth, a gum swelling or abscess or even a facial swelling in severe cases. A problem with the dental nerve can be developed from deep decay in the tooth, a crack, heavy wear on the teeth, trauma or even gum disease.
The dental nerve is located in the centre of the tooth and in the roots too. When this becomes infected, the bacteria in the nerve multiply rapidly inside the tooth and cause an abscess at the end of the roots. An abscess is an area that is filled with pus and full of bacteria. This can result in a gum swelling and worse still, even a facial swelling that could spread to the neck or the head. This can even be life threatening. Bacteria can circulate around our blood stream and infect other parts of your body too. Especially if you have other medical problems or even an artificial joint or heart valve, you could be at higher risk of developing more problems. It is important to suppress the infection quickly and effectively.
The aim of RCT is to remove the infection and the infected nerve causing the problem, whilst giving you the opportunity to keep your tooth. This will help to relieve the pain. Every effort is made to ensure that treatment is as painless as possible for you. Ultimately, once pain is gone, you can function with your tooth and smile. The procedure may be require one or more visits. Time is taken to diagnose and treat the tooth. In some cases, RCT may need to be carried out by an endodontist (a specialist in RCT) if there is a very high level of complexity in the treatment. If this is the case, you will be advised of this. After completion of RCT, the tooth usually needs to be protected with a strong filling and/or crown.
Alternatives to RCT usually involve removal of the tooth and replacing it. To prevent the need for RCT in most cases, it is important to practice good oral hygiene regularly, consume a tooth-friendly diet and have regular dental checkups. Also, we recommend wearing a custom-made mouth-guard to minimise risk of dental trauma during sport. Please see the ‘Mouth-guard’ link for further information on this.
Please contact us if you have any queries regarding this treatment.