Endodontics (Root Canal Treatment)
Why do I need root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment (endodontics) is needed when the blood and nerve supply of the tooth (the pulp) becomes infected through decay or injury. This frequently leads to an abscess at the base of the tooth.
What symptoms will I have?
Toothache, which may be severe, is a common symptom. There may be pain on biting or chewing. Swelling around the gum can also occur. Occasionally, teeth requiring root canal treatment will not give any symptoms.
What will the treatment involve?
You will probably need local anaesthetic then an opening will be made with the drill in the surface of the tooth. A ‘rubber dam’ protective sheet may be placed over the tooth to keep it clean and dry during treatment. The pulp tissue inside the tooth’s roots will be removed, the canals or spaces thoroughly cleaned with very small instruments and then filled, usually with a rubber-like material and adhesive cement. Some small x-rays may be taken. The opening in the tooth is then filled, sometimes with a temporary filling material, and later the tooth may need a crown on the top to protect it. It is a time-consuming procedure and may require several appointments.
Where will I have the treatment?
We regularly provide root canal treatment in the practice but in some challenging cases we may refer you to an Endodontic Specialist who has particular expertise in this area.
What are the benefits of root canal treatment?
The aim of the treatment is to remove dead and infected tissue from the tooth, removing the source of discomfort and pain.
The alternative option is usually extraction, resulting in the loss of the tooth.
Are there any risks?
The success rate of the procedure is high, but there is a risk of the infection returning.
A hole is drilled inside the tooth, making it weaker and more susceptible to fracture.
During treatment it is possible that the small files used to clean and shape the tooth canals can break, leaving a fragment in the tooth canal. This may lead to a referral to a Specialist Endodontist, and increased risk of damage.
It is possible that other unforeseen complications may arise during treatment.
Your dentist will discuss the likelihood of these outcomes with you.
Will the treatment hurt?
With the use of local anaesthetic the treatment is normally quite comfortable. Any tenderness following treatment can be treated with a painkiller such as you would use for a headache. Your tooth may feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your endodontic treatment is completed. However, if you have severe pain or pressure, please call the practice.