Root Canal Treatment

Coronavirus COVID-19 Update

Latest announcement by the government in the news that dentist can open on the 8th June 2020.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been clear that our first priority is the wellbeing of our patients and staff and this continues to be the case. As a result, the practice will only be reopening once we are satisfied that we have all of the necessary processes and personal protective equipment in place to ensure everyone’s safety.

Dentists were not given any notice of our reopening date and the information was only received via the daily briefing.  We are working around the clock to get protocols and procedures in place based on the latest guidance made available.

We will contact patient via email with more information about when the practice will reopen and will also be updating the website. In the meantime, please do not attempt to make a new appointment or attend the practice in person for any reason unless you are asked to do so. If you need advice, or if you are in need of urgent dental treatment, you should continue to call the practice and leave a voicemail. One of the dentists will return your call and be able to help.

We are determined to support patients who need care as quickly as possible and will be opening the practice to provide further treatments as soon as we are safely able to do so. We will keep you fully informed throughout this process

Tips to help manage dental problems until you can see a dentist:

Click on the following link Managing Toothache at Home (pdf document)

 

Underneath your tooth’s outer enamel and within the dentine is an area of soft tissue called the pulp. This contains the tooth’s nerves, lymph and blood vessels. Root canals are very small, thin divisions that branch off from the top pulp chamber down to the tip of the root. A tooth has at least one but no more than 4 root canals.


Deep tooth decay, deep fractures or an injury due to trauma, can cause serious damage and infection to the pulp. If the pulp becomes infected, the infection can spread through the entire root canal system of the tooth. This will eventually lead to an abscess. If the tooth is left untreated an abscess could spread to the area outside of the tooth, bone around the tooth may degenerate, causing tooth loss.

Once the pulp in infected, the options for treatment are either: Root Canal Treatment or Extraction.

Root canal, or endodontic treatment, cleans out the infected pulp chamber and repairs the damage so the tooth can be saved. Early indication that root canal treatment may be necessary include:

  • Increased sensitivity to hot and cool foods
  • Severe decay or an injury that creates an abscess (infection) in the bone
  • Spontaneous pain or throbbing while biting

Root canal treatment eliminates nerve problems and abscesses and avoids tooth extraction, and is far more cost effective in the long term.

What does it involve?

The aim of the treatment is to remove all infection from the root canal. The root is then cleaned and filled to prevent any further infection. Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. Most courses of treatment will involve two or more visits to your dentist.

At the first appointment, the infected pulp is removed. Any abscesses, which may be present, can also be drained at this time. The root canal is then cleaned and shaped ready for the filling. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle.

The tooth is checked at a later visit and when all the infection has cleared, the tooth is permanently filled.


Frequently Asked Questions

Does it hurt?

No. A local anaesthetic is used and it should feel no different to having an ordinary filling done. We take every care ensuring a comfortable procedure. The majority of people who have undergone root canal treatment typically report that the process itself is no more involved than having a filling placed.

What happens after treatment?

Natural tissue inflammation may cause discomfort for a few days, which can be controlled by an over-the-counter analgesic. A follow-up exam can monitor tissue healing.

What if I don’t have the treatment?

The only alternative is usually extraction of the tooth, which can cause surrounding teeth to shift crookedly, resulting in a bad bite. Though an extraction is cheaper, the space left behind is likely to require an implant or a bridge, which is more expensive and time intensive than root canal therapy. If you have the choice, it's always best to keep your original teeth.

What if it happens again?

More than 90% of root canal treatments are successful. However, if the infection comes back the treatment can be repeated.

What will my tooth look like after treatment?

In the past, a root filled tooth would often darken after treatment. However, with modern techniques this does not usually happen. If there is any discolouration, there are several treatments available to restore the natural appearance.

Will the tooth be safe after treatment?

Yes. However, it is better to restore the tooth with a crown to provide extra support and strength to the tooth.

What about aftercare?

Root-treated teeth should be treated just the same as any other tooth. Remember to clean your teeth twice a day, with a fluoride toothpaste. Cut down on sugary snacks, and keep them only to mealtimes if possible. See your dentist for regular check-ups.