Why Is Root Canal Treatment Needed?
Root Canal Treatment (also called Endodontics) is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (known as the pulp) is infected through decay or injury. It is most often needed in teeth that already have very large or deep fillings, or in teeth that have recently had a filling due to deep dental caries (decay) in the tooth.
If the pulp becomes infected, the infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth, which may eventually lead to an abscess. If Root Canal Treatment (RCT) is not carried out, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be taken out.
We recently audited the root treatments we carry out at the Causeway revealing we have over a 70% success rate. The most common reason for these treatments to fail is because of tooth fracture so dentists usually recommend placing a crown after completion to protect the tooth.
Does Root Canal Treatment Hurt?
No. A local Anaesthetic is used and the whole procedure should feel no different to that of having an ordinary filling done, although the appointment will be longer than that for a normal filling. There will usually be some pain or discomfort for 3-4 days following the treatment. The tooth may feel slightly tender and “different” for a few months following treatment.
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 any discolouration should take place, there are several treatments available to restore the natural appearance.
What Does The Treatment 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. RCT is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. Sometimes the treatment will involve two or more appointments. Firstly the infected pulp is removed. Any abscess, which may be present, can also be drained at this time. The root canal is then cleaned and shaped with specially machined rotary files ready for the permanent root-filling. The root canal is disinfected using strong antiseptics and once the dentist is confident that the infection is gone, the root filling can be placed into the canal. The root filling is a rubber material, which is compressed into the root to permanently seal it.
What If The Infection Comes Back?
Root canal treatment is usually very successful however, if there should be a recurrence of infection, the treatment can be repeated. If a tooth has a particularly difficult shape or a complication that prevents your dentist successfully treating the tooth, it is possible to refer to a specialist who can spend more time and use advanced techniques and instruments to treat your tooth. This can be a very expensive option. Sometimes an extraction of the tooth is the only option if treatment fails.