What is root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment aims to remove all infection and debris from the infected tooth. It is a skilled and time consuming procedure that can requires two or more visits.
Why is root canal treatment needed?
Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes; deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, an injury to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess which can be extremely painful. If root canal treatment (RCT) is not carried out, the tooth may need to be taken out.
What are the signs of needing endodontic treatment?
Signs to look for include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, tenderness to touch and chewing, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling, drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes as well as nearby bone and gum tissues. Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms.
What does it involve?
The aim of the treatment is to remove all infection from the root canal. The root is then filled to prevent infection recurring. Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. All work is carried out whilst looking into your tooth with magnification. Some courses of treatment may involve two or more visits.
At the first appointment the root canal is disinfected and shaped ready for the root filling. The canals will be dressed with an antibacterial paste and a temporary filling is placed on top. The tooth is then left to settle.
The tooth is checked at a later visit and when all the infection has cleared, the root canals and tooth is permanently filled. Sometimes the treatment maybe completed on the same day with a final filling placed within the canals.
Will the treatment be painful?
Many endodontic procedures are performed to relieve the pain of toothaches caused by pulp inflammation or infection. With modern techniques and anaesthetics, patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure.
For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Follow your endodontist’s instructions carefully.
Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your endodontic treatment is completed. However, if you have severe pain, pressure or pain that lasts more than a few days, call your endodontist.
What will my tooth be like after treatment?
Afterwards, you will return to your dentist, who will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function. You may be asked to return to The London Clinic to take a check x-ray some months later. We will liaise with your dentist at all stages of your treatment with us.
What if it doesn’t work?
Root canal treatment is usually very successful, with long-term success rates of over 70%. However, if the infection comes back other treatment options will be discussed such as referral to an Endodontist.
You may be referred to an Endodontist – a specialist in Root Canal Treatments. The London Clinic may refer you to a specialist for treatment due to the complexity of the treatment, the state of the tooth or because your tooth has a been compromised and as such would have a higher failure rate. Endodontist’s use high powered microscopes to see down the canals of the teeth along with specialised techniques to treat compromised teeth.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding with a surgical or invasive procedure, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.