Nothing quite strikes fear into the heart of dental patients like the words ‘root canal treatment’. When the blood or nerve supply of a tooth (often known as the ‘pulp’) becomes damaged through injury, infected or decayed, it can cause the nerve of the tooth to die. Year ago this would have meant a certain need to remove the tooth before the whole area became infected. However, thanks to root canal treatment it is now possible to save teeth that are at risk from the damaged pulp.
Infections spread fast and this is particularly true in our mouths which are moist and warm and a perfect breeding ground for bacteria to spread. An infection that starts in the pulp can quickly spread through the root canal system, and if left untreated could grow to form an abscess. If this happens then bacteria-filled pus will collect under the gums, causing them to swell and become hot and potentially extremely painful. At this point, your dentist will need to prescribe you with a course of oral antibiotic and it may be necessary to remove the tooth altogether.
The key aim of root canal treatment is to remove all of the infection from the root canal and save the original tooth.
After your root canal treatment, your mouth may be sore for a few days. During this time try to limit your diet to soft foods, don’t smoke and avoid alcohol.
Once your root canal treatment is complete you will be able to look after your tooth just by following a comprehensive oral healthcare plan that includes twice daily brushing, daily flossing and mouthwash use.
Occasionally a tooth that had received root canal treatment would darken a few shades. This is now a rarity, but should there be any discoloration then speak to your dentist who will be able to suggest a treatment that will lighten the tooth back to a more natural color that is in keeping with your original teeth.