Helping to save teeth
The innermost part of the tooth (the pulp) can become infected due to deep decay, an extensive restoration, a crack, enamel wear or severe gum disease. Root canal treatment can eliminate this infection, protect the tooth from further damage and save it from extraction.
Signs of pulp damage may include the following:
- Prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold
- Discoloration of the tooth
- Tenderness of the overlying gums
- A bad taste
However, there may be no symptoms at all, which is why it is important to have regular check-ups. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause loss of the supporting bone.
After root canal therapy, the tooth has no ‘living’ pulp but it is kept nourished by the tissues surrounding the root, made up of the gum, periodontal membrane and supporting bone. This means a root canal treated tooth can still function normally and be successfully maintained with effective oral hygiene.
Is root canal treatment painful?
As the tooth is anaesthetised, root canal treatment procedures are relatively comfortable and often painless. After treatment, the tooth may be sensitive or tender for a few days due to inflammation of the surrounding tissues but this can be relieved by taking over-the-counter painkillers. If the pain is persistent or severe, or swelling occurs, you should contact your dentist.
For added reassurance, the dentist who performs the majority of our root canal treatments is a member of the British Endodontic Society.