Ask Our Ipswich Dentist – Root Canal Treatment
Act quickly – even if it means overcoming dental anxiety.
Today’s question comes from a patient who appears to be hoping that his problem will go away, when what it really needs is urgent treatment.
Q. Common sense tells me that I should be calling a dentist for an appointment right now, instead of asking you this question; but I am terrified of dentists. Currently though, I am in quite a lot of discomfort with a very painful gum which appears to have a lump on it filled with something. I have survived for a few days on painkillers but it’s getting worse. I can just about tolerate it if I know it will go away on its own. I’m hoping that you will tell me that this is the case, but I suspect you won’t!
A simple answer to your question is that it is extremely unlikely that it will go away on its own, and would almost certainly reappear, even if it did, if it wasn’t treated. It sounds as though you have an abscess and this can be very painful indeed and requires prompt treatment. In addition to this, the cause of the abscess needs investigating which will require a thorough examination by one of our dental team at the Foxhall Dental Practice in Ipswich.
I know that isn’t what you had hoped to hear but it is the reality of the situation; one that we understand can be difficult for an anxious dental patient, such as yourself, to hear. Perhaps, before explaining the likely outcome and procedure, we should address the anxiety concerns to help put you at ease.
As an anxious dental patient, you are probably in the majority, although most people will maintain dental visits despite their concerns. Unfortunately, those that don’t often end up needing to see an emergency dentist because they are in severe pain. Whether it is a regular appointment or an emergency one though, we always do everything that we can to help you remain calm and relaxed during your appointment. The local anaesthetic used in dental procedures is also very powerful and any discomfort felt should be minimal.
As to the treatment itself, the first step would be to examine the area to determine the cause. This may involve an x-ray to determine if, as I strongly suspect, you have a dental abscess. If this is the case we would prescribe you with a course of antibiotics to treat it. You may need to continue your painkillers during this time.
Once the abscess has been treated, it is important that you don’t allow your fear of dentists to prevent you from receiving the necessary follow up treatment as the abscess will almost certainly flare up again soon if you do. The action taken will depend on results of the x-ray and oral examination at the Foxhall dental Practice, but is likely to take the form of root canal therapy. I am aware of the reputation of this procedure and would like to take this opportunity to put your mind at rest. Providing that any abscesses have first been treated, this procedure should cause no more discomfort than most others.
Essentially, the purpose of this procedure is to remove the infected material from the root canals of the tooth to prevent further infection and likely abscesses. This involves removing the top of the tooth before cleaning out the root canals. This is then filled and a crown added to restore the tooth. Once this has been done, you should suffer no further infection of this tooth.
Once this problem has been resolved, I would strongly recommend that you become a regular patient at our Ipswich practice and have a full check up so that we can get you back on track with good oral health. Once your teeth and gums have received any necessary treatment, regular six monthly visits, along with good oral health care at home, which, incidentally, many dental phobics often do in order to avoid the dentist, should mean that minimal treatment should be needed in the future.
For the time being though, the important thing is to call us for an emergency dental appointment so that we can start treatment as soon as possible.
Call the Foxhall Dental Practice as soon as we open and we will try to see you the same day. You can reach us on 01473 258396.