A root canal treatment is often performed when a patient has a root canal infection, which threatens a tooth. It is a procedure to save a tooth and preserve oral health, by restricting an infection from spreading beyond its local position. During root canal therapy, the dead or decaying material is removed and replaced with filling material to prevent reinfection.


How Does A Root Canal Infection Develop?

In the centre of each tooth is a soft mass known as dental pulp, which reaches down to the roots of a tooth. It is the job of the pulp to provide the tooth with nutrients and nerves. It contains a combination of tissue, blood supply and nerves and this is what feeds a developing tooth. In the event that the pulp becomes infected, damaged or diseased, it can put you at risk of losing the tooth.

Bacteria can multiply quickly, which may ultimately lead to the development of a dental abscess at the root of your tooth, and this can be incredibly painful. Infected tooth pulp can also jeopardise the other teeth in your mouth.


How Can Root Canal Therapy Help A Root Canal Infection?

The goal of root canal treatment or therapy is to preserve the tooth and protect your future oral health. In years gone by, if your teeth had infected pulp they would have been extracted. In order to perform a root canal therapy, your dentist must first drill a small hole through the enamel of your tooth and then remove all the infected material. If it is not removed the infection will get worse. Your root canal treatment will be performed under anaesthetic so you do not feel pain and discomfort.

Once the infected material has been removed, your dentist will fill the tooth canal with filling material to prevent bacteria from getting in and causing another infection. You might need to have more than one session to remove all the infected material from inside your tooth. Your dentist will probably need to fit a crown over your tooth once the procedure is complete to fill up the hole.


What Are The Symptoms Of A Root Canal Infection?

If you need root canal treatment you will probably present with an infection and inflammation. The signs you need root canal treatment may include:

  • Tooth sensitivity to extreme temperatures
  • A loose tooth
  • Pain when chewing or biting
  • Darkening of the tooth
  • A noticeable pimple on the side of your gum
  • Swelling or inflammation of the gum around the affected tooth
  • Swelling in your face
symptoms root canal infection bellevue hill

It is possible to have an infection of your root canal and not present with any symptoms. In these cases the infection would likely be picked up during a routine check up or through x-rays. 


What Causes Damage Or Disease To Your Tooth Pulp?

Some of the causes of diseased or damaged tooth pulp include

  • A deep cavity or untreated dental decay
  • Trauma to your tooth which results in a crack or fracture
  • Tooth decay under a filling that is old or which has become loose
  • Cracks in the teeth which allow bacteria to enter
  • Gum disease which affects the teeth


The Importance Of Root Canal Treatment For An Infection

If you have damaged or diseased tooth pulp it is important to have root canal treatment. Not addressing it could lead to further complications such as: 


A More Widespread Infection

Infected dental pulp can lead to an abscess developing or to infected gums and soft tissue, putting other structures in your mouth at risk of infection.


Tooth Loss

The goal of a root canal treatment is to preserve your tooth. If the tooth dies it will fall out and, if not replaced, can cause the other teeth in your mouth to drift, which may cause you to lose other teeth.


Bone Loss

An untreated infection in your gums can lead to bone loss.

An infection can also lead to poisoning of your system, high fever and being generally unwell.


Root canal treatment used to be a painful and inconvenient procedure with a low success rate but by today’s standards, it is an important procedure that can preserve your future oral health. Early intervention gives you the best chance of a positive treatment outcome. Regular visits to your dentist for a professional clean and check up can monitor the development of infections in your oral cavity.


If you suspect you have a root canal infection you should seek immediate treatment to protect your oral health. Please contact us for an appointment: (02) 9158 6309