Endodontics – Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment is a very important dental speciality, and is usually carried out to save teeth which would otherwise need to be removed.
Inside each root is a nerve (or ‘pulp’) that can become inflamed. To avoid the formation of an abscess (which would eventually cause pain), the endodontist carefully removes all the nerve tissue and meticulously cleans the inside the ‘canals’ inside the root.
Front teeth are likely to have just one canal, but further back in the mouth teeth will have three, four or sometimes even five canals.
In this practice, our endodontists use a high magnification microscope to show them the inside of the root while they are working. It would be impractical for a general practice to have such a microscope, which is one of the reasons why referral to a specialist practice is often best for endodontic treatment.
A treatment appointment is likely to last for 1½ to 2 hours. It is unlikely that you will feel any discomfort – a combination of gentleness and effective local anaesthesia usually ensures a comfortable experience.
Low dose digital x-rays are used as necessary.
Reasons for root canal treatment
Many of the patients who come to us have had previously unsuccessful root canal treatment. The usual reasons for failure are either because one or more canals have been missed, or because the root fillings do not extend right to the tip of the roots as they should. This would allow infection to remain inside the tooth, which over time will likely cause pain and/or swelling.
When there is an infection inside the canals it is likely to cause discomfort or pain at some time. The infection may cause the formation of an abscess which can then result in a facial swelling. Root canal treatment will remove the cause of the pain, and allow your own body’s defences to heal the area.
Patients are often referred to us for root canal treatment if restorative treatment is needed to a particular tooth and the general dentist wants to be sure that the root will not give problems later. It would, for example, be unwise to crown a tooth which had signs of a potential root tip infection. In such a case first ensuring the viability of the root will ensure the long-term future of the crown.
Treatment without pain
In the past root canal treatment used to be unpleasant, sometimes painful and often unsuccessful – this is no longer the case. Effective local anaesthesia is always given and, as necessary, analgaesics and antibiotics will be prescribed afterwards. As with all dental treatment, our aim is to carry out your procedure without pain or discomfort.