Our emergency dentist and the root canal

Many urgent treatments are associated with accidents and trauma, but the most common non-trauma problem that finds its way into our emergency dentist in Edinburgh is that of dental abscesses. Here we look at exactly how they are formed and how we treat them.


What is a dental abscess?

Abscesses are built by our body in order to contain an infection. They are capsules of highly  inflamed fibrous scar tissue. Their purpose is to reduce the spread of infection, retarding its growth and giving time for your immune system to react.

The body only forms abscesses as a secondary option after an infection has established itself when the first immune response has been unsuccessful. This is more common in tissues with a low blood flow or blood circulation, as it is much harder for white blood cells to get to the site of the infection. In the case of dental abscesses, they occur in the very small gap between the root and the jawbone; this is also an area with almost no blood flow. Antibiotics also get to the site of infections via capillaries, so poorly perfused tissue will result in an abscess being less responsive to antibiotics.

Can I treat myself at home?

It can be tempting to want to treat yourself at home. This is because abscesses are uncomfortable at the best of times, but when between two bones the pressure and discomfort can become debilitating. leading some people to take drastic action. 

Beyond over-the-counter pain relief, you should seek out professional care like our emergency dentist in Edinburgh where possible. As tempting as it may be to lance or resolve the abscess yourself, this can easily result in emptying the abscess into your bloodstream, spreading the infection and potentially causing sepsis, a life-threatening complication.

Endodontic treatment

During a root canal, a small hole is drilled down into the root of the tooth and the abscess is drained through it by our team. This allows the abscess to be cleaned out and removed without the tooth needing to be extracted, saving the tooth whilst resolving an underlying issue. This is usually done in the first session and you may be prescribed antibiotics.

In a second session a full tooth filling is performed. This is a very long filling that starts beneath the tooth in the void where the abscess was, extending up the canal and eventually finishing at the entrance hole at the top of the tooth. Root treated teeth are just as strong as any of your others and a root canal filling is unlikely to become loose or require repair in the future,

Do you need an emergency appointment?

If you’re suffering with an abscess or any other urgent dental care, please feel free to get in contact with our surgery; Polwarth Dental clinic, your emergency dentist in Edinburgh. We reserve a set of same day emergency appointment slots specifically to meet the urgent needs of those who need care now.

In the case of root canals it is unlikely that you will be fully treated in a single session, but by the time you have had your emergency appointment, you will no longer be in discomfort and will be able to continue with your daily routine.