What is root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment (also known as Endodontics) is carried out to treat infection within the pulp of a tooth. Infections can occur for a number of reasons including tooth decay, injury/trauma and cracked or broken fillings. The infection will usually cause the tissues within the root canal to become tender and swollen and this can lead to pain and discomfort. An abscess may form if the infection spreads.
What happens during the treatment?
Firstly the Dentist will give you a local anaesthetic to make you comfortable and then isolate the tooth using a very thin piece of rubber. This helps prevent you from swallowing any small files or fluid through the procedure. It also helps contain the infection and keep the tooth dry from saliva. Through making an incision in the top of the tooth, the pulp can be removed and the canal(s) cleaned out using small files. After thorough cleaning the canal(s) are filled and then the tooth is restored. It is not uncommon to require a second visit to complete the root canal treatment, especially where a tooth is severely damaged. Where a second visit is required the Dentist will use a temporary filling to seal the tooth to prevent any debris/bacteria from re-entering.
Is it painful?
Most people report that the procedure is similar to having a filling carried out. The Dentist will always try and keep you as comfortable as possible throughout. Can any Dentist carry out Root Canal Treatment? Any Dentist can carry out root canal treatment, however, if the work is considered more complex then you may be referred to a Dentist who has undertaken further training or a Specialist (known as an Endodontist).
Following the procedure you may experience some discomfort for a few days. Your regular over the counter painkillers can be taken to help relieve this (always read the leaflet and follow dosage instructions). If your symptoms persist or get worse you are advised to contact your Practice. It is most important to maintain good oral hygiene moving forwards and any root treated tooth should be cleaned in the same way as the rest of your teeth.
Will I require further work?
Root-treated teeth are often more brittle than other teeth due to the removal of the pulp. Your Dentist will make an assessment and advise you of any further restoration required, which can be a crown to protect it. Root canal treatment is a very successful procedure and helps save teeth that may otherwise have to be removed.