The canals and inner part of a tooth contains what is also known as the ‘pulp’ – the lifeline of the tooth, where nerves and blood vessels are found. The pulp can become irreversibly injured and/or exposed to bacteria through:
- Breakdown of a filling or crown
- Deep decay
- Crack in the tooth
- Gum disease
- Extreme wear
- Extensive dental work on the tooth
When this happens, the nerve is irritated or inflamed and the most common symptoms at this stage are toothache, sensitivity to hot or cold, and soreness in the gums around the tooth. Left untreated, the nerve will eventually die and the blood vessels will stop carrying vital nutrients and immune defences to the inside of the tooth, allowing bacteria to grow freely and infect the canals and inner part of the tooth. Overtime, the infection finds a way out of the tooth and an abscess forms at the ends of the roots. This eats away at the bone around the roots and in some rare cases, the infection can spread to become life-threatening.
Root canal therapy aims to disinfect and clean the inside of the tooth, saving a tooth that would otherwise require extraction. The procedure is usually done over 2-3 appointments. It may take some time for the infection to clear and the bone around the tooth to start healing and this will determine the length of time given. For more information, click here or speak to your clinician today if you are interested in a Root Canal Treatment.