Why are Root Fillings Necessary?
Teeth have a core of blood vessels and nerves at their centre in a space called the root canal. Very deep decay or injury to a tooth can destroy this living tissue and make it darken in colour. A ‘dead’ tooth is prone to infection. This in turn may lead to an abscess which can cause pain and swelling around the tooth. The root canal needs to be cleaned out thoroughly before any restoration work is done.
How is a Root Filling Done?
Your dentist will give you a local anaesthetic injection to numb the area before removing any decay using a drill. It shouldn’t feel any different to having a filling. A rubber dam will usually be placed over your tooth to keep it dry. Disinfectant and thin instruments are used to remove bacteria and dead cells from the root canals. There can be as many as four root canals in each tooth and they all need to be cleaned out in this way.
Afterwards your tooth is sealed by placing a temporary filling into the root canal. Once your dentist is happy that the infection has gone, a filling or crown can be placed on top.
Root fillings are complicated and you may need two or more appointments. You will need to have a number of X-rays during root canal treatment. When completed, a root filling should feel no different to an ordinary filling.
The pulp or inner tooth material can be damaged as a result of:
- Untreated tooth decay causing bacteria to spread into your tooth and infect the pulp.
- Severe gum disease causing gums to pull away from the teeth, thereby creating a gap called a periodontal pocket, which traps bacteria that can infect the pulp.
- Injury due to accidents that affect and infect the pulp.
The Purpose of Root Canal Treatment at Tracey Bell
The purpose of root canal treatment is to maintain the health of the tissues that surround a the root of the tooth despite the tooth s nerve undergoing degenerative changes. The tissues are therefore no longer infected with bacteria or irritating substances. If left untreated an abscess will form; the multiplying bacteria is pushed beyond the root tips. As the abscess expands within the bone, the tooth rises slightly out of its socket making it feel tender when you bite down. Without treatment, this infection can further spread to the surrounding tissues and nerves resulting in:
- Difficulty in swallowing
Root canal treatment removes the infected pulp and disinfects the pulp chamber thereby stopping the spread and formation of further infection. This helps to keep your teeth in their natural form.
Does a Root Filling Hurt?
Pain is always associated with root canals, but there should actually be little to no pain during the procedure. The procedure is not for cosmetics, but rather your health. The infection will only get worse with time if left untreated. The root canal procedure has a 92% success rate. The excellent news for you is that the tooth will not need to be extracted in the future.
Here at Tracey Bell, we’d be the first to acknowledge that root canal treatment has a reputation for being painful, but we d also be the first to refute this idea. It seems most likely to us that the majority of derogatory remarks you hear in regards to root canal treatment refers to the pain and discomfort that the person experienced leading up to receiving treatment. For the average person and the average case, root canal treatment is a non-event and not any more uncomfortable than having a filling replaced.
Risks of Root Fillings
As with any elective dental treatment, there are great benefits but there may also be risks involved. Our clinicians at Tracey Bell are more than happy to discuss any concerns with you.
Temporary tenderness when brushing your teeth after the procedure
- Pain and swelling
- Persistent abscesses
- Inability to save the tooth
- A case may need to be redone due to a diseased canal offshoot that may have gone unnoticed.
- Root canal treatment is 95% successful, however, occasionally the therapy can fail altogether, marked by a return of pain.
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