How We Help You To Keep Your Teeth at heath DENTAL
Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment (also called endodontics) is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (known as the pulp) is infected through decay or injury. If the pulp becomes infected, the infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth. This may eventually lead to an abscess. If root canal treatment (RCT) is not carried out, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be taken out.
The aim of the treatment is to remove all infection from the root canal. The root is then cleaned and filled to prevent any further infection. Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. Most courses of treatment will involve two or more visits to your dentist.
At the first appointment, the infected pulp is removed. Any abscesses, which may be present, can also be drained at this time. The root canal is then cleaned and shaped ready for the filling. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle. The tooth is checked at a later visit and when all the infection has cleared, the tooth is permanently filled.
Root-treated teeth should be treated just the same as any other tooth. Remember to clean your teeth at least once a day, preferably with a fluoride toothpaste. Cut down on sugary snacks, and keep them only to mealtimes if possible. See your dentist for regular check-ups.
Besides having dental implants, there are two main ways to replace missing teeth. The first is with a removable false tooth or teeth – a partial denture. The second is with a fixed bridge.
A bridge is usually used where there are fewer teeth to replace, or when the missing teeth are only on one side of the mouth. Bridges are usually made of a precious metal base. If the bridge will show, porcelain is then bonded to the base. Sometimes, there are other non-precious metals used in the base to reduce the cost.
You should replace missing teeth for a number of reasons. Your appearance is one reason. Another is that the gap left by a missing tooth can mean greater strain is put on the teeth at either side.
A gap can also mean your ‘bite’ is affected, because the teeth next to the space can lean into the gap and alter the way the upper and lower teeth bite together. This can then lead to food getting packed into the gap, which causes both decay and gum disease.
A veneer can make a chipped tooth look intact again. The porcelain covers the whole of the front of the tooth with a thicker section replacing the broken part.
Bonding: sometimes instead of a porcelain veneer, a natural colour ‘composite’ material is used instead of porcelain. A natural-coloured filling material can be used for minor repairs to front teeth like chipped or broken tooth corners.
Sometimes there may not be room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth and, as they start to come through, they push against the teeth already there or may start to come through at an angle. When this happens, you might feel some pain or discomfort, so the best thing to do is to visit your dentist.
The dentist will probably take an x-ray of your mouth to see how – or if – your wisdom teeth are coming through. From this, they will be able to make a judgement on whether or not to take them out, and how easy or difficult it might be.
Having a tooth out is the same as having an operation and, because of this, you must look after the area to speed healing and to reduce the risk of infection. Here are some pointers:
- For the first 24 hours, try to avoid eating hot food, don’t smoke, don’t drink any alcohol and try not to disturb any blood clot which might have formed
- Don’t rinse your mouth for six hours after extraction. After that, rinse gently with warm salty water – half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water is enough
- Brush your teeth as normal to keep your mouth as clean as possible
- You may feel some small pieces of bone work their way out of the socket – don’t worry, this is perfectly normal
- There may be some swelling and a bit of discomfort in the first two to three days. If you need to, take some ordinary painkillers – ibuprofen or paracetomol will be fine
- If you feel pain immediately after the tooth has been removed, it might be where the blood clot has broken down leaving an empty hole in the gum. This is called a ‘dry socket’ and will need to be looked at by your dentist. Simply go back and the dentist will pack the wound to ease your discomfort
Your dentist may have given you some gauze to place onto the area where the tooth has been removed – if not, a clean cloth handkerchief will do just as well (but not a paper tissue).
- Roll it into a small firm pad large enough to fit over the gap (probably around 1cm by 3cm)
- Sit up and gently clear away any blood clots around the gap using the gauze or hanky
- Put a clean pad over the gap (from tongue side to cheek side) and bite down on it firmly for 10 to 15 minutes
- Take the pad off and check whether the bleeding has stopped. If not, apply a fresh pad and contact your dentist