Root Canal Treatment in Townsville
Root canal therapy is performed by a dentist to repair a tooth that’s infected or badly damaged by decay.
The root canal is a hollow chamber inside your tooth. It contains soft tissues that house the nerve endings and blood vessels (called the pulp). If tooth decay wears down the hard surface of your tooth (the enamel), or bacteria enters through other means, this can cause severe pain and sensitivity when it reaches the nerve endings inside, especially when you bite down.
Root canal treatment involves removing the damaged pulp and replacing it with an artificial substitute. Your tooth will still be healthy and function as normal after the procedure.
If our dentists determine that a root canal treatment is needed, we’ll make sure you understand exactly what this involves so you can make an informed decision about your oral health. The treatment can sometimes be performed in a single appointment and often only requires local anaesthetic.
Teeth can become infected if decay penetrates to the inside or bacteria gains access through cracks or chips. Injuries to the face and previous dental procedures can also sometimes cause irritation and inflammation.
Living with an infected tooth can cause pain and discomfort, but that’s not the only reason we recommend root canal treatment. If the infection continues to spread, your symptoms could worsen and the tooth may become too badly damaged to repair. You may also be at risk of complications, such as a tooth abscess or swelling in your head, neck and face.
We’ll always try to save a healthy tooth whenever possible, but if your tooth is too badly damaged or infected, we may recommend extraction to protect the rest of your teeth. Visiting your dentist as soon as you notice unusual symptoms will improve the chances of your tooth being saved and restored to its normal function and appearance.
Common signs that you may have a damaged or infected tooth include:
- sensitivity to hot and cold food and drink
- pain when biting or applying pressure with the tooth
- darkening of the tooth
- swelling in your face
- bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.
Not everyone who has a root canal problem shows symptoms. That’s why it’s important to have regular dental check-ups, so our dentists can catch any problems as soon as possible.
When you visit our dental clinic, we’ll give you a thorough oral health assessment to determine whether your symptoms are caused by a damaged or infected tooth or if you have a different problem such as tooth decay or gum disease.
Some people associate root canal treatments with pain, even though the treatment aims to take away the pain and discomfort of an infected tooth.
Like all routine dental procedures, we perform root canal treatments using local anaesthetic to numb the part of your mouth being treated, helping minimise discomfort. If you experience anxiety about dental treatments, we can discuss other sedation options with you.
We can also provide pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication to help reduce pain and swelling in the days following your treatment. If you continue to experience pain or other unusual side-effects such as bleeding, contact us to make an emergency appointment.
If you decide to have root canal treatment, we’ll first take x-rays of your mouth to plan your treatment effectively. We’ll then administer local anaesthesia and any other sedation option you selected and isolate the tooth with a rubber dam to protect the rest of your mouth during the procedure.
To access the damaged pulp, we’ll need to drill into the tooth. The pulp is removed and the root canal flushed out and disinfected to make sure it’s free from bacteria and debris. Depending on whether an infection was present, we may then fill the tooth with an artificial sealant or fit a temporary crown and arrange another appointment to allow time for the infection to clear.
Once your tooth has been filled with the rubber compound, it will function the same as it used to. We’ll then close the tooth with a filling or a custom-made crown designed to blend in with your other teeth. We use the CEREC system that can design and manufacture same-day crowns during a single appointment.
Root canal treatment can help prevent tooth loss and further oral health problems from developing. Complications are rare when the procedure is performed correctly, but if the tooth is not fully disinfected or a crack in the tooth is overlooked, the infection could return and spread to other parts of your mouth.
Repeat treatments can be performed if your root canal is unsuccessful. If your crown gets damaged or comes loose, make an emergency appointment at our Townsville clinic so we can replace it with a new one.
The treated tooth may feel sensitive for a few days following your treatment. We can prescribe or suggest over-the-counter medication to help relieve pain and inflammation.
If your treatment is completed over more than one appointment, we’ll fit a temporary crown to protect your tooth before we can see you again. This will be weaker than your other teeth and you should avoid hard and crunchy foods that could cause it to come loose, as well as hot and cold food and drink if your tooth is sensitive to temperature.
You should continue to brush and floss your teeth as normal after a root canal treatment. When you take good care of your treated tooth, it should last as long as the rest of your teeth.