What is the Root Canal Treatment
Also known as endodontics, root canal therapy is a treatment for an infection in the root canal system or ‘centre’ of the tooth.
Your tooth is made up of the outer enamel, a hard layer called dentine and (right at the centre) a soft tissue known as pulp. Injury or trauma to a tooth, together with leaking fillings or tooth decay can all lead to infection of the ‘pulp’ in the root system which will necessitate treatment to keep the tooth.
The pulp is a highly sensitive part of the tooth that contains the nerves and blood vessels, all of which can be killed by a severe infection and cause pain, discomfort or even facial swelling. Root canal work treats all of these elements and can often eliminate the need to remove the tooth.
Modern treatment methods have transformed the science of endodontics and all options will be considered and discussed by our specialist after a thorough examination.
We apply a number of different techniques to root canal treatment, which will, in any case, begin with the removal of the infected pulp before thoroughly cleaning the canal and applying a medicated solution to ensure all bacteria are dealt with. Antibiotics may be prescribed where an abscess has developed. Filling of the vacated root area with an inert material is intended to prevent re-infection and to stabilise the void.
A tooth that has been subject to root canal treatment may be more susceptible to fracturing and a crown is sometimes recommended to help reduce the likelihood of this.
Our specialists have many years of experience of root canal treatment and their pain-free and extremely professional work guarantees a high percentage of successful outcomes.
Clearly, as with all procedures carried out in our surgery, your comfort and reassurance are a priority.
If you have more questions about why you need root canal treatment contact us here. Our endodontists will be more than happy to provide you with FREE consultation via the phone and book you in for an assessment.
Symptoms of Root Canal Infection
Patients who need a root canal treatment present with a variety of symptoms. Some patients experience severe dental pain and discomfort then others will have minor or no symptoms at all.
Some signs to be aware of are:
- Prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold ( particularly hot)
- Spontaneous pain
- Sleep disturbance because of the pain
- Swelling of the gum adjacent to the tooth
- Pain or tenderness when you bite on a tooth
- Discolouration of the tooth
- Brief sensitivity to heat or cold
If discomfort is brief and only lasts a few moments it could mean there is an inflammation in the pulp of your tooth. Sensitivity can indicate a number of different problems such as decay, loose fillings or gum recession. If you are experiencing sensitivity, try using a toothpaste such as Sensodyne for a few weeks. If symptoms persist make an appointment to see a dentist.
- Persistent pain after eating hot or cold foods
This pain could indicate that the pulp in your tooth has been damaged either by deep decay or physical trauma. However, it could also indicate other problems. Patients experiencing this pain should come see a dentist as soon as possible so they can identify the cause of the pain.
- Sensitivity to temperature after dental work
Dental work can inflame the pulp causing temporary sensitivity. If you are experiencing sensitivity following dental treatment make sure you mention this in your review. After any dental work, it is advised to see a dentist again for a review a few weeks later.
- Pain when biting and chewing
This type of pain could be caused by a number of things such as decay, a loose filling or sometimes a crack in the tooth. However, it could also indicate damage to the pulp tissue inside the tooth. If you are experiencing this type of pain come and see a dentist for a check-up. If the problem is pulp tissue damage, our specialists will discuss treatment options.
- A severe toothache and pain, gum inflammation and pain when touched
This type of a toothache could be caused by a bacterial infection, which formed into an abscess. If you are experiencing severe pain come and see us and we will do whatever possible to relieve your discomfort.
- Dull ache and pressure in upper teeth and jaw
A possible origin of this problem is a sinus headache. These are often felt in the face and teeth. Teeth grinding (or bruxism) is also known to cause this type of ache. For relief from a sinus headache, we recommend you see your GP. If you have a bruxism problem, you should come for a consultation with our specialist.
Please note these symptoms might not always indicate Root Canal Infection and could be symptomatic of other dental problems.
If you are experiencing any kind of dental pain or if you think you might have a root infection the first step is to see one of our specialists for an initial examination.
Why do I need endodontic treatment?
Root canal treatment will have been recommended, when the pulp within your tooth has become infected or inflamed. This can be a painful condition and one that our specialists will prioritise in order to quickly relieve the symptoms and treat the underlying cause.
If this pulp infection is left untreated the tooth can become painful and you might be at risk of losing your tooth.
What are the alternatives to endodontic treatment?
The alternative to root canal treatment is the extraction of the tooth. This option and any subsequent treatment plan can be discussed with our dentist at the initial consultation.
Is Root Canal Treatment painful?
Despite myths about root canal treatment being painful with modern local anaesthetics and a skilled specialist-endodontist, the treatment itself is no more uncomfortable than a filling.
At CBC Dental Studio, we have a reputation for empathetic and gentle care which applies to all areas of treatment. A local anaesthetic is used at every stage of the procedure to ensure your comfort.
We also provide amazing DVD glasses so that you can watch a variety of entertainment to provide distraction during the treatment.
Following treatment, the tooth may feel a little tender for a few days, but this can be normally controlled with anti-inflammatory medication.
We offer a sedation service for patients who find treatment difficult to cope with. You will need to organise for someone to accompany you home afterwards. Please, speak with our specialist if you require a sedation service.
Do I need a referral from a general dentist?
No, you can contact us directly. You will probably need a consultation appointment first to discuss your problem. We usually have appointments available within two days and if you are in severe pain we will always make your case a priority.
How many appointments will I need?
That depends on several factors e.g. which tooth is to be treated, the access to the tooth, the degree of infection and whether any previous endodontic treatment has been performed.
At CBC Dental Studio, we normally do the treatments over one or two appointments, but we will let you know if we think further appointments maybe necessary.
How long does treatment take?
This will depend on the complexity of the root canals and any problems that are encountered. To achieve success it is important that the procedure is not rushed. The appointment normally would between 1 and 2 hours. Re-treatment cases may take a little longer than first-time treatments.
What happens after root canal treatment?
It is highly recommend completing the root canal treatment with the permanent restoration of the tooth, as it is an important part of treatment, because it seals the cleaned and filled canals from the oral environment, protects the tooth and restores it to function.
How long will my tooth last after endodontic treatment?
Current research suggests that if the tooth being treated is restored with a crown, the tooth can last for many years post treatment. The prognosis for every tooth is variable but is influenced also by good oral and dental care, good oral hygiene and periodic dental check-ups.
Can all teeth be treated endodontically?
There are several factors that must be considered before committing to a course of endodontic treatment for a tooth.
The length and shape of the roots are assessed as well as the future ability to adequately restore the tooth with a crown afterwards.
We will only carry out treatment if the long-term future for the tooth outlook is favourable. This will be discussed at your endodontic consultation appointment.
Can the treatment fail?
Endodontic treatment has a success rate of up to 95% if carried out to a high standard. Problems can occur if the tooth develops decay, if the restoration on top of the tooth fails or sometimes despite good endodontic treatment, the tooth may not heal as expected. In such cases, further endodontic treatment or surgery may be carried out if appropriate.
However, every case is different and we will discuss with you the chances of success for your tooth before the endodontic procedure is started to help you make an informed decision.
It is impossible to guarantee the success of any medical procedure. Even with the best treatment, healing may not occur due to circumstances beyond the control of the dentist.