Root Canal Treatment

What is root canal treatment?

The treatment of infected root canals is not a painful dental procedure and is a highly successful way to save teeth. This treatment is usually recommended when there is enough of the tooth remaining to fill and is used to treat infection at the centre of the tooth.

About Root Canal Treatment

Root canal procedures can be a fantastic way of saving the tooth.

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    Why might I need a root canal procedure?

    A common reason you might need root canal treatment is infected dental pulp. The pulp, or dental pulp, is soft tissue at the tooth’s centre containing nerves and blood vessels. The pulp contains tiny, narrow tubes called “root canals.” The root canals are surrounded by the tooth’s sensitive outer layer of tissue. Each tooth has one or two root canals. (In some teeth, such as the premolars and the back molars, there are two or three root canals.)


    How do I know if I need root canal treatment?

    If a dental X-ray shows that bacterial infection has damaged the pulp, you’ll need root canal treatment. As pulp becomes infected by bacteria, it may become inflamed, causing bacteria to spread, grow and multiply.

    If you have a pulp infection you’re likely to experience a loose tooth, pain whilst biting, chewing and eating. Hot or cold food and drink might be especially problematic. As the infection worsens, you should expect pulp to die and so your symptoms will start to reduce and ultimately go away. At this point, your tooth issues may appear to have disappeared, but the infection will have progressed through your root canal system. At this point, you may eventually experience symptoms such as:

    • The colour of the tooth darkening
    • The part of the gum near the infecting tooth starts to swell
    • Pus coming from the tooth
    • A swollen jaw and/or cheek
    • Chewing and/or biting might be painful as before.

    It’s important to remember is you’ll need to visit your dentist if your tooth is infected because the pulp will not heal without dental help. In heavily infected cases, an abscess can even develop.

     

    What is the root canal treatment process?

    If treated early enough, just a filling can treat inflamed pulp, so please seek dental help sooner rather than later. If you need root canal treatment, you’ll be given a local anaesthetic, meaning the procedure should be painless. In instances where the tooth has died, it may no longer be sensitive, so local anaesthesia may not be necessary. Tooth extraction is a last resort. It’s preferable to maintain the maximum number of natural teeth that you have. Once bacteria have been removed from the root canal system via root canal treatment, then the root canal can then be cleaned and filled, and the tooth given a filling (a permanent filling not a temporary filling) or a crown (the top of the tooth that you can see in your mouth). A little time should be given to allow any inflamed tissue near the tooth to heal naturally. Natural healing should occur most of the time. The key to successful root canal treatment is to seek dental help early to reduce the chances of infection becoming established within your tooth. Antibiotics can help treat infection beyond the root of the tooth but will not be effective against the root canal infection itself.

    How many root canal treatment appointments are necessary, what are the success rates and how long with my tooth be ok for?

    Between one to three visits will be required. Root canal treatment is usually very successful. Around 90% of the time, a tooth will last up to 10 years following treatment. Regular tooth and gum care, as well as frequent visits to your dentist, can help teeth to last longer.

    How do I recover from root canal treatment?

    Take it easy when recovering from root canal treatment by avoiding biting on particularly hard foods especially with your treated tooth (or treated teeth if you’ve had the procedure carried out on more than one tooth). You may experience some soreness in your tooth for a few days following treatment, but it should no longer be painful.

    How can I help prevent needing to have root canal treatment on other teeth in the future?

    Generally, giving up smoking will help reduce the chances of necessary root canal treatment, avoid too much sugar in your diet, keep your teeth clean by regular brushing and flossing, and have regular dental checkups and hygienist visits.

    Tooth extraction vs root canal treatment?

    Root canal treatment is preferable to tooth extraction since keeping as many natural teeth as possible is better. Also, although, in terms of actual costs, actual tooth extraction is less expensive than root canal treatment, to have a tooth replaced with an artificial will add to the overall cost and work out more costly than root canal treatment. Additionally, losing one tooth can eventually lead to further tooth loss. Teeth to either side of the missing tooth will start to move closer together, affecting biting and chewing food. Gum shape can also change in addition to bone changes which can alter the aesthetic appearance of the face.

    Next steps...

    Do you have a toothache? Don’t delay get in touch with Maldent today. We can assess the health of your teeth and guide you through whether root canal treatment is suitable for your situation..

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