The dental pulp is a soft tissue made up of nerves and blood vessels. This pulp is contained in the pulp chamber, which extends from the middle of the tooth, down through the root canals exiting at the root tip.
The pulp is enclosed by the rigid tooth structure. It is a fragile structure that doesn’t cope well with anything that might injure it. Bacterial infection is a common cause of pulpal injury. Bacteria find their way to the pulp via deep decay or along a crack. It is vital, where possible, to treat decay and cracks in teeth early in order to prevent the pulp’s death.
When a pulp dies the dead tissue is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Antibiotics can not reach the bacteria living within the tooth because blood vessels that would have carried the antibiotics to the area have also died.
An abscess may form. An abscess is a collection of pus, which may or may not be painful. An abscess is very painful if it causes pressure to build up in the bone, or it may find a way to the surface as a pimple or a bad tasting discharge
Once the dental pulp has died, extraction of the tooth or root canal therapy is the only way to clear up the infection.
Symptoms of a dental pulp in trouble:
- Sensitivity to hot or cold is a sign of a dental pulp that is in trouble but not yet dead.
- Tooth hurts with biting or if you apply pressure
- You feel throbbing, pain or swelling
- Bad taste in your mouth
- A pustule or pimple in the gum above the tooth
- A shadow may be visible on an xray
- The tooth may feel loose.
How is a root canal performed?
At Woodward Dental Practice if we suspect root canal therapy might be required we will do a thorough examination, which may include x-rays and even a pulp tester which checks the health of the pulp. The required time to perform the root canal therapy will vary depending on the difficulty of your procedure.
The therapy will include carefully removing the infected pulp from the tooth. The root canals are then cleaned and disinfected. Two appointments may be needed to allow time for disinfectants to reduce the number of bacteria.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or discomfort, please call our team to arrange a consultation on 04 472 3102.