When infection reaches the centre of a tooth, root canal surgery may become necessary to treat the infection and save the tooth.
Bacteria can invade the tooth through a number of ways:
- By damage such as a fall or injury during sports
- By untreated tooth decay
- By problems with fillings
Once infection enters the tooth, it can multiply within the soft pulp inside. You’ll feel severe tooth ache, especially when eating or drinking hot or cold foods, and chewing will most likely be painful. The tooth itself may also become loose!
As the pulp dies in the tooth, the pain often subsides, leaving patients thinking that all is well again. In fact, the infection may have spread into the root canal system. This can lead to further pain, and the tooth darkening in colour as well as painful facial swelling.
What can I do to avoid root canal surgery?
It is important not to ignore toothache! Make sure you have regular checkups with your dentist and see a dental hygienist to stay on top of your oral health. If you have pain there is an underlying cause, and your dentist will be able to see if anything is wrong. Root canal surgery is a last resort when infection has spread, so here prevention is always better than cure!