I see a lot of people who are experiencing pain or infection caused by their teeth. Usually the nerve in the tooth is dead or dying and this is causing tooth ache and or a dental abscess. Often these people have been referred to me by another dentist and very often they assume that they are going to have to have the tooth removed.
For a lot of the people I see the thought of losing a tooth is a traumatic one and something that they are desperately keen to avoid. This is where root fillings come in. A root canal filling is, as the name would imply, a way of filling the root canals that used to house a live healthy nerve. If the nerve is dead or dying it is due to the presence of bacteria in the tooth and this process leads to infection developing around the tips of the roots. On a radiograph the infection is often seen as a shadow around the tips of the roots and is caused by the body removing the bone around the tooth. The body does this in the style of a “Russian Retreat” to create a “no mans land” around the tooth to help contain the infection. Unfortunately there is an inexhaustible supply of bacteria coming from the mouth via the tooth so the body always loses this battle, causing the area of infection to grow and grow, as can be seen in the first example where almost all the bone around the tooth has been lost. All is not lost however and, if successful, a root canal filling can seal the canals to stop the flow of bacteria which in turn can allow healing to take place at the tip of the roots. This is seen clinically as pain and swelling resolving and is seen on radiograph as the shadow clearing and bone being replaced around the tooth.
Sometimes the first attempt at the root filling is not successful and the infection remains at the tips of the roots. In this case the shadow around the tips of the roots had grown over a period of time and the patient was still experiencing pain. By redoing the root filling we were able to help resolve the infection and allow healing to take place. The tooth is now comfortable and can stay in place for, hopefully, many more years.
If you are having problems with tooth ache or infection and would like to know if we can help you keep the tooth then please do not hesitate to contact the surgery on 01580 752202 and we will he happy to help.