A root canal is a treatment that is often misunderstood. People associate it with fear and pain, but this is often far from the truth. A root canal treatment is performed to save a badly infected or decayed tooth. With modern dentistry, root canal treatments should be no more painful than a filling. At Beaches Dental Mona Vale, we have a team of experienced dentists who have performed countless successful root canals.
In this article, we discuss the symptoms of needing a root canal and what this treatment is used for.
Understanding root canal treatment
To understand a root canal treatment, we first need to discuss the structure of a tooth. Teeth have three layers:
- Outer layer: enamel
- Middle layer: dentin
- Inner layer: root canal/nerve chamber
The inner layer or “root canal” is home to your tooth’s nerve endings and tissue- this is known as pulp. When that pulp becomes infected it becomes impossible to treat with topical or systemic antibiotics- you need a root canal treatment or an extraction.
A root canal treatment cleans that inner canal, removing the infected tissue and excess decay. If left untreated you risk losing the tooth due to extensive decay or fracture that can not be restored.
What does it treat?
Root canal treatments are performed as a last resort to save your natural tooth. You may need a root canal treatment if you suffer from any of the following:
A deep cavity
The main cause of infected root canals is extensive tooth decay also known as a deep cavity. You may have had a cavity before, a little hole in your tooth, that was fixed with a simple filling. If that little cavity had been left untreated the decay would have worsened. Eventually, the decay reaches the innermost layer of your tooth which lets bacteria in. This causes infection and eventually leads to tooth loss. A root canal treatment can save your tooth if this happens.
Cracked teeth or fillings
Sometimes teeth and dental fillings may crack, particularly if they are large, old fillings or you grind your teeth at night. That’s why it’s important to see your dentist for regular check-ups. They can spot a cracked or weakened filling. If you have a cracked tooth or filling that goes unnoticed it can lead to extensive tooth decay and/or bacteria infecting the pulp down the crack. Again, this may lead to infection and result in the need for a root canal treatment.
Trauma from injury
In some cases, people require root canal treatments for unavoidable issues such as accidents or injury. A blow to the face can affect your teeth. You may find your tooth was cracked, fractured, knocked out or partially moved. This leaves your tooth susceptible to infection. That’s why you need to get it checked out by an emergency dentist immediately.
What are the symptoms of needing a root canal treatment?
The symptoms of an infected or inflamed pulp can go undetected but usually, you’ll notice one or more of the following:
- Persistent pain or toothache
- Sensitivity to temperatures
- Pain when biting or chewing
- A loose tooth
- Painful gum
- A swollen or inflamed gum
- Facial swelling
- An abscess (may look like a little pimple) on your gum
- Pus oozing from your gum
If you notice any of these symptoms you should consult your dentist as soon as possible.
Root canal treatment in the Northern Beaches
If you think you may need a root canal treatment, don’t ignore it. The longer you leave it the worse it gets and the more risk you run of eventually potentially losing your tooth. When a root canal treatment is performed it should not cause you pain, rather save you pain.
At Beaches Dental Mona Vale, we have a team of highly trained dentists who use some of the latest dental equipment. We prioritise our patients comfort and do everything we can to keep your teeth happy and healthy. Give us a call to book an appointment today.