Endodontic Treatment – Saving An Infected Tooth

How our specialist dentists avoid extracting root-infected teeth.

Anyone visiting a dentist in the UK can do so in the knowledge that they will have had to meet a certain level of training and qualification in order to perform dental surgery for their patients. Whilst this training covers the essentials of dental care, some forms of specialist dentistry require comprehensive additional training.

Not every dental practice offers this, instead referring patients to other practices when more complex treatment is required.

At The Dental Centre Bedford, we are pleased to be able to offer patients a range of specialist treatments, and in today’s blog, we take a look at the role of one such specialist, the endodontist, and what they do.

Infection of the tooth canal

The term ‘endodontist’ comes from two separate ancient Greek words meaning ‘inside’ and ‘tooth’. As you can deduce from this, an endodontist therefore specialises in the treatment of infections of the inner part of the tooth; namely the root canals. These infections may occur when a tooth is cracked or damaged and bacteria is allowed to enter past the hard enamel exterior. Whilst there may be no immediate pain, as the root canals are where the nerves are located, it is probably no surprise that as the infection takes hold, it can cause extreme pain and the need for immediate treatment.

Root canal treatment

To treat a tooth canal, the infected material must first be removed. Prior to this though, x rays will be taken to check for any signs of an abscess, and, if found these will be treated with antibiotics, before the treatment proceeds. To perform the procedure, the patient is first of all given a strong local anaesthetic to minimise any discomfort, following which the endodontist removes the top section of the tooth to allow access to the canals.

The infected material is then removed from the canals, leaving them hollow. Following thorough cleaning to remove any remaining bacteria, a special filling known as gutta percha is used to fill the hollow canals. Although this solves the problem of the infection, the tooth will both appear incomplete and be in a weakened state in most cases. A dental crown is therefore added to the tooth to strengthen it and complete the procedure.

Post care

A root canal treated tooth can last for many years and provides both a natural appearance and good functionality. It is important to remember that the tooth will have no feeling as the nerves have been removed, and care should be taken when biting down on very hard foods as the tooth may be slightly weaker after treatment. For more information about endodontic care or other specialist dentistry available at your local Bedford dentists, please call us on 01234 819868.