When the nerve at the centre of a tooth dies there are two treatments that are available:
- Root fillings, or
- Tooth extraction
The nerve in the tooth most commonly dies because of:
- attack from bacteria in extremely deep decay
- trauma (sporting accident, assault etc)
Attack from bacteria in extremely deep decay
In this situation the space inside the tooth where the nerve tissue (dentists call it the pulp) used to be is now occupied by broken down nerve tissue and breeding bacteria. The infection that grows from this is the source of the pain the patient feels in an abscessed tooth.
Our body’s defence system is unable to rid us of this infection because there is no blood supply into the nerve space anymore, and therefore our immune system can’t get to the source of the problem.
A root filling procedure removes all the infected material in the root canal and then plugs the canal so no more bacteria can colonise there.
The techniques involved in root filling are quite complex and need to be explained in detail. The treatment is a very precise one and it usually takes 2 to 3 visits over a period of time. A root filling procedure has a high success rate.
Using micro-dentistry to treat root fillings
The standard of care of specialist Endodontists dictates the use of an operating microscope for root fillings. At Dentistry First we have invested in and use a high-quality Zeiss microscope for all of our dentistry.
Should I get a root filling?
Root fillings aren’t for every situation when a nerve dies and consideration has to be given to:
- The state of the remaining tooth structure on that particular tooth
- Whether the investment in time and effort fits into the long-term view of a particular patient’s dental health
Does getting a root canal hurt?
I’d like a dollar for every patient who has been told that root canal procedures are the most painful thing on the planet!! With modern technology and modern procedures, a root filling can be completed with a minimal amount of discomfort or indeed no discomfort at all.