Root Canal Treatment

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Root Canal Treatment

Root canal therapy is needed when the pulp in a tooth becomes inflamed and infected from a build-up of bacteria through decay or injury. It can be very painful and if neglected, can lead to a dental abscess.

Root canal therapy involves removing the infected pulp from the tooth and cleaning it thoroughly. It is generally something that can be done in a single session, although in some complex cases we might have to extend it over two sessions just to keep you comfortable. A few x-rays will be taken so that the dentist can measure the root length and see the length of root filling.

Once the tooth has been cleaned and the infected material removed, we’ll insert a filling to keep its structure. Studies have shown root treated teeth are most successful when restored with a crown to support the weakened tooth structure.  

The ultimate aim of root canal therapy is to save a tooth and restore its structure and get you pain free.

Frequently Asked Question

Tooth decay, fractures, trauma, loose fillings and gum disease are the most common causes. These can expose the dental pulp to bacteria and cause infection within the root canal space. If left untreated, infection can reach the tip of the root and its surrounding bone forming an abscess. This presents as a hot fluctuant swelling that is severely painful and often accompanied by fever and ill-being.

The treatment is not painful as the tooth (and the surrounding tissues) will be numbed using local anaesthetic. If you feel any discomfort, let the dentist know and they can top you up with more local anaesthetic.

The treatment will also relieve the symptoms that developed from inflamed and infected tooth. It is quite common, however, to experience some discomfort in the area around the tooth the first few days after treatment. The jaw may also be tender as a result of opening your mouth for an extended period of time. These symptoms are temporary and usually respond very well to normal painkillers.

Root canal treatments are successful in more than 90%. Re-treatments have a success rate of 75-90% depending on several factors. It is a complex treatment and has higher chance of working if carried out by a specialist endodontic.

In the unfortunate cases where root canal treatment was not successful, repeating the treatment or surgically cutting the root(s) tip(s) can save the tooth and relieve symptoms.

Common risks and complications include:

  • Weakening of the tooth. This increased the chance of fracture so a crown is advised to protect it.
  • Darkening of the tooth.
  • Inability to locate, clean and seal all parts of the root canal resulting in failure to remove all infected tooth tissue. In some cases, even if the treatment is done to a high standard, the infection will not resolve as the anatomy of the tooth may be complex. The success rate of root canal treatment is often quoted at around 90% but if the treatment is unsuccessful it may require further treatment such as re – root canal treatment, apical surgery or removal of the tooth.

The only alternative option to root canal treatment is to have the infected tooth extracted. This will result in a gap which can be left or replaced with either a denture, bridge or implant.

Like always, it is important to maintain a good oral hygiene through brushing and flossing. Following root canal treatment, follow-up clinical and radiographic examinations should be carried out to monitor the healing process. Well looked after endodontically treated teeth with good final restorations can be retained for as long as other vital teeth.

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Teeth Straightening Wath upon Dearne, Rotherham

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