Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy (RCT) is a procedure used to relief pain caused by a nerve that has become inflamed or infected most commonly by tooth decay.

It is an ideal treatment option as it allows an individual to keep their tooth even though the nerve inside the tooth may have become inflamed or infected. With all the advances in technology, nothing still compares to your natural teeth.

Keeping your natural teeth is also the best and most economical option when compared to replacing a missing tooth by either a bridge or an implant.

Although extraction might be the easiest option, keeping your natural teeth saves you from the complications that can arise following removal of a tooth namely:

  • Tipping of adjacent teeth possibly compromising chewing and the development of gum disease
  • Over-eruption of opposing teeth resulting in sensitivity and root decay
  • Over-stress placed on neighbouring teeth increasing the chances of them developing cracks.

When infection is present, root canal therapy is the most effective option at ensuring overall well being as it removes the source of the problem preventing re-infection.

There is a common misleading notion that root canal therapy (RCT) is painful and doesn’t work. This is in fact the opposite of the objective of RCT. As previously stated RCT is used to relief pain and studies have indicated that the success rate of RCT is as high as 97%.

What are the causes of an inflamed and infected pulp?

  • Breakdown of a filling on a tooth providing a passage way for bacteria into the pulp
  • A crack that runs into the pulp
  • Deep decay where bacteria has reached the pulp
  • Trauma
  • Clenching
  • Periodontal gum disease

 What are the symptoms of an inflamed and infected nerve?

  • Sensitivity to cold and/or hot that lingers on more than a few seconds
  • Pain that wakes you up at night or that comes on with no triggers
  • Pain that is constant, dull, and throbbing in nature
  • Pain on biting or when touching the tooth
  • A tooth that has discoloured in appearance (greyish, pinkish)
  • Development of a swelling/abscess or tenderness of the gums surrounding the tooth
  • A tooth that has become mobile and loose
  • Swelling of the face

It’s important to note that an infected nerve will not always produce pain.

Are there any complications that may occur if an inflamed/infected pulp is left untreated?

 Yes there are.

  • Untreated infection results in increased irreversible damage to the surrounding bone and tissues. This may leave no other option but to extract the tooth. Following extraction, the irreversible damage my complicate and prevent other treatment options.
  • The longer treatment is delayed the more intense the pain becomes and more severe infection develops.
  • Untreated infection may spread into surrounding vital areas in the face and throat resulting in possible life-threatening complications.