If pain arises from a tooth, it may have become infected and require root canal treatment. Tests including vitality tests, percussion tests and digital X-rays will be carried out first to see if a tooth needs root canal treatment. Root canal treatment is usually carried out over 2 visits but can also be completed in one visit should be appropriate. During the first visit the infected tooth tissue and dead nerve of the tooth is removed so that it stops the toothache and during the second visit we ensure that the root canals are well cleaned and sealed. When carrying out root canal treatment, the tooth is anaesthetised to ensure that the treatment is carried out comfortably and with no pain. For those patients who are anxious or nervous about root canal treatment, we also offer IV sedation for extra peace of mind for any anxious patients.
The tooth is then isolated with a rubber dam to ensure that the field is kept as sterile as possible and bacteria contamination free from the saliva. Wearing a rubber dam will feel strange at first but most patients find wearing it for the duration of the root canal treatment easy and reassuring. We use modern flexible titanium rotary files with specialist rotary motors to ensure that the tooth canals are shaped efficiently. We only use our root canal files once, in order to minimize fracture and reduce risk of cross infection.
We use high tech equipment as apex locators to establish the length of canals accurately and to reduce the radiographic dose to patients. We thoroughly clean the canals with powerful disinfectants to destroy the majority of all bacteria colonised within the tooth canals.
Finally the root canals are filled with gutta percha root canal filling material to prevent re-infection of the tooth. The tooth is usually filled with a white core material and patients will be advised to have a dental crown soon after root canal treatment to prevent tooth fracture or root canal leakage as after root canal treatment the tooth does become structurally weaker. You may experience some post-operative pain which usually settles down with pain killers. Root canal success rate ranges from 70-90% over 5 years. Root canal treated teeth can discolour, however once they are crowned this tooth dicolouration will be hidden or we can use Cosmetic internal bleaching to help the discolouration of the tooth too, but ask our dentists for more information.
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.
All our teeth are filled with soft tissue, called the tooth’s pulp. When this pulp becomes damaged or diseased it needs to be removed to prevent infection, damage to the tooth and unnecessary pain. Our treatment painlessly removes this pulp, before we clean, shape and fill the resulting cavity.
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. Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. Most courses of treatment will involve two or more visits to your dentist.
At the first appointment, the infected pulp is removed. Any abscesses, which may be present, can also be drained at this time. The root canal is then cleaned and shaped ready for the filling. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle. The tooth is checked at a later visit and when all the infection has cleared, the tooth is permanently filled.
Root canal treatment is usually very successful. However, if the infection comes back the treatment can be repeated.
The alternative is to have the tooth out. Once the pulp is destroyed, it can’t heal and it is not recommended to leave an infected tooth in the mouth. Although some people would prefer an extraction, it is usually best to keep as many natural teeth as possible.
Yes. However, it is better to restore the tooth with a crown to provide extra support and strength to the tooth.
Root canal treatment is a routine dental procedure, which your dentist will be happy to do for you.
Root-treated teeth should be treated just the same as any other tooth. Remember to clean your teeth at least once a day, preferably with a fluoride toothpaste. Cut down on sugary snacks, and keep them only to mealtimes if possible. See your dentist for regular check-ups.