Root canal treatment
What is the cause of a toothache?
A toothache can be caused by several factors, and the level of pain as well as the other symptoms can differ. A toothache is usually caused by one of the three following factors: dental caries (cavities), dental nerve inflammations or the inflammation of the dental root tip.
Sometimes a toothache can also be caused by a gum inflammation. Gum inflammations are directly linked to dental hygiene. The microbes in the dental plaque irritate the gums, and this results in inflammation, redness, bleeding, itching and pain.
What is a dental caries?
A dental caries or dental cavity is a contagious disease caused by the microbes in the mouth. The microbes produce acid from the sugar that exists in food, which in turn damages the teeth.
These microbes can settle in at a very young age, as soon as the first teeth make an appearance, thus resulting in a vulnerable area. In most cases, they come from the parents who clean a pacifier in their mouth, feed the child with a spoon they have used for eating, or kiss a child on the mouth.
Four simultaneous factors are required for a dental cavity to form:
1) A tooth for the microbes to nest on
2) A particular type of microbe that produces dental cavities
3) Carbohydrates or food to produce acids
4) Time for the acids produced by the microbes to impact the teeth – this means that the cavities will form faster if a person eats often and does not clean the remaining food from their teeth
What is a dental nerve inflammation?
A dental nerve inflammation usually occurs if the dental caries has not been treated. A small cavity will become a large cavity, and the microbes reach the dental nerve through this opening. The inflammation can be acute (very painful) or chronic (with almost no pain).
What is a root canal tip inflammation?
If there are no symptoms associated with the dental nerve inflammation and the tooth is not treated, then the dental nerve will die and the microbes can reach the surrounding bone tissue through the tip of the root canal. An inflammation in the tissues surrounding the root tip then occurs. Again, this inflammation can be either acutely painful or chronic.
If the tooth is extremely painful and sensitive to biting or pressure, it could be an indication of an acute inflammation of the root tip. At first, the pain is constant, pulsating, and it is clearly linked to one tooth. As the inflammation progresses, the pain will become more acute, and it can transfer to the neighbouring teeth. The gums at the tip of the root canal will be red and inflamed and might also have an abscess. This can be accompanied by a general decline in health and a fever.
A chronic inflammation of the tip of the root can progress without any recognisable symptoms. This type of inflammation does not usually cause pain. In some cases, there can be a fistula formed on the gums near the root tip, producing a small amount of pus. This kind of inflammation is diagnosed based on the changes that are visible on x-rays, and it requires treatment even if there is no toothache. This constant source of inflammation is particularly dangerous for those who are suffering from cardiovascular diseases or who have artificial limbs. Therefore, it is important to have regular check-ups and treatments with your dentist.
One of my teeth is sensitive.
If a tooth has become sensitive to cold, heat or sugar, then you are experiencing the common signs of a dental cavity.
Sensitivity can also be caused by the exposed neck of a tooth or by so-called wedge defects in the gum line. A tooth can also develop a painful reaction to a changing temperature or pressure (when biting or during strong contact) if there is a fracture in the tooth. In the case of a fracture, the pain is usually stronger and it can be accompanied by bleeding gums.
In the case of a dental nerve inflammation, the pain is only apparent when an irritating factor (change in temperature, sugar) is present. As the inflammation progresses, the pain will continue even after the irritating factor has disappeared, and can reoccur independently. This pain is usually very strong, and it can transfer to the neighbouring teeth, thus making it difficult to point to one single painful tooth as the source. Due to the characteristics of the nervous system, the strongest pain often occurs during the night.
A short-term average pain and sensitivity to cold, heat and pressure can be present after visiting the dentist and after applying a filling to a broken tooth. This type of pain should subside with time. However, if the pain is still present after 4-6 weeks, it is recommended to contact your dentist.
How much does a root canal treatment cost?
The cost of a root canal treatment depends on its nature, and on whether the treatment is applied to a tooth with one, two or three roots. Price includes opening the root canal, filling the canal, x-rays, temporary fillings and anaesthesia.
It is not possible to determine the final cost of a root canal treatment before starting the treatment, because in some cases it can be difficult to open the canals, and this may require several visits. Also, if the tooth requires further restoring with a crown, it might be necessary to install a glass fibre support into the root canal.
What is a microscopic root canal treatment?
At Kliinik 32, we use dental microscopes for more complicated cases of root canal treatments. The microscope provides a magnification of up to 20 times, which enables the dentist to have a detailed view of the root canal and the narrow side canals to be revealed. With the microscope, it is possible to treat root canals that might otherwise be considered as impenetrable. The microscope also reveals dental fractures that are invisible to the eye and enables more effective treatment.
What should I keep in mind after a dental treatment?
A tooth can be sensitive to cold or heat after a tooth filling. It can also be slightly painful in response to pressure. This is completely normal, and it will disappear with time. After receiving a temporary filling, it is recommended that you avoid eating for one hour.
What should I keep in mind after a root canal treatment?
A root canal treatment is a time-consuming and complicated procedure. The tooth will often have several root canals (from one to four), and access to the teeth at the back of the mouth can be difficult. The treated tooth can also become sensitive or even start hurting, because it is a cause of inflammation which will take time to subside. However, these symptoms should disappear with time.
If you come to the clinic for a first aid visit with strong pain, it might happen that it is not possible to immediately provide complete pain relief. A chronic root canal inflammation can become acute at the start of the treatment, and may start causing pain. In the case of strong pain, swelling, fever or other symptoms, you should arrange an immediate visit to the dentist or at least contact the clinic for further instructions.
At interim stages during the root canal treatment, the doctor will apply a temporary filling to the tooth. It is recommended to avoid eating for one hour after the temporary filling has been installed, as it is still soft and could become loose.