The symptoms of the infection can be uncomfortable, and include: pain or tenderness whilst eating and/or drinking, the infected tooth becoming loose, swelling in the face and gum and pus leaking from the infection.
If a root canal treatment is not carried out on the infected tooth the area can spread throughout the root canal. The root canal is a ‘path’ that runs through the inside of the tooth and into the gum. Its main function is to keep the tooth rooted in place, hence the name.
This kind of dental job is carried out with the aim of removing the infection from the root canal. Most dental professionals, such as Kent dentists, routinely prepare for the treatment by taking a series of X-rays on the affected area to determine how badly damaged the tooth is.
A local anaesthetic is normally used, which numbs the area making the procedure more painless. However, a local anaesthetic is not necessary if the tooth has died as there is no sensation.
The infected pulp is removed through the flat, top part of the tooth (the crown) and the root canal is then cleaned and enlarged ready for filling. Because the root canal is rather narrow the dentist will normally file it to enlarge the area, making it easier for the temporary filling to be placed.
As this procedure is skilled and in some cases time consuming a root canal treatment may be carried out over several visits.
Root canal treatments have a high success rate. An NHS report indicates that around 80% of patients retain the tooth for several years after the procedure.