For something so small, an abscessed tooth can cause excruciating pain—from a dull, throbbing ache to a sudden, searing shock triggered by a hot drink or the pressure of biting down.
Abscesses occur when the soft pulp inside the tooth becomes infected—often as a result of a fracture, trauma, or excessive decay. Left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the body and cause serious health problems.
A root canal is the only way dentists can save an abscessed tooth. It requires drilling into the centre of the tooth and removing the infected blood vessels and nerve tissue, which extend into the root through tiny canals. Once the canals have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, the tooth is filled temporarily. (It sounds way worse than it is, honest!)
Root canals take one or two appointments and as many follow-up visits as necessary to ensure that the infection has cleared up before the tooth is filled permanently or crowned. A crown is an eventual necessity in most cases, as the structure of the tooth is weakened by the treatment and more prone to breaking as it ages.
If needed, we can also offer our patients a mild sedative, so they feel completely comfortable while we put them back on the road to a happy, healthy mouth.