Root canal treatment also known as endodontic treatment is required when the living tissue inside the tooth becomes inflamed or infected.
Treatment involves removal of the inflamed or infected pulp tissue and sealing of the root canals to prevent infections from returning in the future. This allows you to keep your own natural tooth rather than face an extraction and a replacement tooth. In most cases a natural tooth will look and function better than an artificial replacement.
The pulp contains the nerves and blood supply to the tooth and may become damaged by deep decay, trauma or cracks in the tooth structure. When pulp damage occurs, early symptoms are often toothache and sensitivity to hot or cold.
Once the root canals become infected with bacteria, pain is frequently experienced when biting or the tissue around the tooth may become swollen this indicates an abscess
The treatment involves an opening being made in the biting surface of the tooth allowing access the root canals. The canals are shaped using fine metal instruments and a disinfectant is used to wash out pulp tissue and kill bacteria. The root canals are then sealed using a rubber-like material, which prevents re-infection of the root canal system. Root canal treatment is usually spread over 2 visits both being from 45 minutes-1 hour long
Root canal treatment is carried out under local anesthesia and is normally a painless procedure. Although you have two slightly longer appointments it should feel no different to having a normal filling.
If you decide that a root canal treatment is not for you due to either fear or simply the cost of the procedure unfortunately an extraction is your only alternative. Loss of teeth can sometimes result in movement of adjacent teeth and can cause difficulty when eating. If the tooth has to be removed, it can be replaced with a denture, a bridge or an implant.
Once a root canal treatment has been completed, a filling or crown is provided to replace the lost tooth structure, prevent tooth breakage and to seal the tooth against bacteria from the mouth. The final restoration is as important to the survival of the tooth as the root filling itself. Some times root filled teeth may require a post for extra strength and due to the fact over time they become quite brittle a crown may be required in 6 months to a year.
After a root canal treatment it is normal to experience pain for a few days. Painkillers are usually sufficient to control the symptoms.Back to Blog
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