Root canal treatment is a processes of cleaning out the canals of the tooth, were the nerve was once alive. This is done by cleaning out all of the bacteria and making the environment sterile inside the tooth before filling the inside cavity of the tooth that is normally occupied with nerves and blood vessels. This treatment is only an option if the tooth is a non-vital tooth (the tooth is dead)
Root canal treatment is not required for every patient that we see. It is only an option if the tooth has decay that has made its way down into the nerve chamber of the tooth or a knock to the tooth that has damaged the nerve inside the tooth and it dies over time. This is an option to patient that do not wish to have the tooth removed, as many people like to keep there own teeth so that the gaps will not effect their chewing or their appearance. Having a missing tooth can also cause the over teeth either side of it to tilt into the gap or the opposing tooth (the tooth above or below it) to over erupt into the gap, and eventually loosing this tooth as well. Not every tooth can be saved with this treatment though, as there is a certain about of healthy tooth structure required for this treatment to be successful. Root canal treated teeth may last many, many years if you look after them correctly. They are still subject to tooth decay and gum disease, just like all any other not root treated tooth and it is highly recommended that a crown be placed on the tooth after 6 to 12 months after the treatment. This is due to the fact that the tooth no longer has a blood supply to it and it at risk of breaking due to a weakened enamel.
Yes you most certainly can, as all dentists are trained in root canal treatment, with our very own Dr Haylea Blundell, taking out the award in her year in Endodontic treatment. However, there are some cases that an Endodontists (a specialist dentist) is required for this treatment, some reasons being that the roots on the teeth are curved too much or the tooth has already had root canal treatment and is reinfected.
Some patients do not have any signs that their tooth is dying or for that matter dead. Each case is different but some common signs that people may experience are as follows: swelling around the tooth root, with a pimple of the gum swelling which may spread to other areas such as the face, neck or head bone loss around the tip of the root of the tooth a drain hole, this is a communication from the infected tooth and the outside bone. This can be located through the side of the tooth into the gums, the cheek or the tongue areas.
Unfortunately antibiotics do not work the same for our teeth like the rest of our body. This is just a band aid approach to what is happening and will only temporarily get rid of the pain and/or swelling but not treat the infection and it will come back again. Root canal treatment not only gets rid of the infection, but it also gets rid of the cause of the infection in the first place.