To save the tooth at this stage, the dentist must perform a root canal treatment in order to avoid an extraction.
A severely infected tooth may cause one or more of the following:
If you experience one or more of these symptoms, make an appointment immediately to see your dentist.
A root canal usually takes two visits. During the first visit, your dentist will take x-rays to determine the extent of the infection and to ensure no other parts of your teeth or gums are affected. Your dentist will then locate and remove the diseased tissue, clean and sterilise the area and place medicine in the canals and fit you with a temporary filling. During the second visit, the located canals are further sterilised and shaped, and then sealed to eliminate the infection. The dentist will then place a stronger filling, and may even advise on a crown to ensure tooth strength for the future.
The dentist will make you as comfortable as possible, using a local anaesthetic to numb the area. Once the numbness wears off, you can treat any discomfort with over-the-counter medications.
It is always better to do whatever you can to save your natural tooth. Extractions are also potentially more costly, depending on the type of prosthetic you choose to replace the area.
Root canals restore full functionality to a tooth. There are no restrictions on the types of foods you can eat. You can care for the tooth in the same way you would your other teeth. These teeth can become brittle with time and your dentist may advise an onlay or crown be placed for further reinforcement.