Root Canal Treatment
The root canal is part of the pulp (nerve) cavity lying inside the root of a tooth. Within this canal lies nerve tissue and blood vessels that keep the tooth alive. When the root canal becomes infected, inflammation cuts off the blood supply to the tooth causing the nerve to die. This process usually causes a painful toothache and can lead to a dental abscess.
Listen to Dr Antony Bellaries talk about root canal therapy on Stray FM Extra
Common causes of an infected root canal are;
- Dental decay
- Cracked teeth
- Previous large fillings
- Extensive crown and bridgework.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal (endodontic) therapy is treatment for the infected pulp cavity and results in both the elimination of infection and protection of the tooth from future bacterial recontamination.
When is Root Canal Therapy Required?
If the pulp becomes infected, the infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth. This may eventually lead to an abscess. The symptoms of an abscess can range from a dull ache to severe pain and the tooth may be tender when you bite.
Does it hurt?
The simple answer is no. With modern anaesthetic techniques the treatment should be completely painless. There may be some discomfort after the procedure but this is usually mild and can be controlled by non-prescription painkillers.
What does it involve?
The aim of the treatment is to remove all infection from the root canal. This is achieved by gently shaping out and disinfecting the root canal system. We then seal it to prevent further infection. The vast majority of root canal therapies can be completed over one visit, however occasionally a second visit is required. A follow-up appointment is then usually required where an x-ray will be taken to confirm the treatment has been successful.
How successful is treatment?
In the hands of an experienced dentist such as our Endodontist Dr. Antony Bellaries, root canal treatment has a very high success rate. Often teeth, particularly molars, have multiple very fine canals which can be easily missed or difficult to negotiate. Dr. Bellaries uses state of the art equipment, including an operating microscope and a CT Scanner, which will help ensure the highest chance of treatment success. In the event that a root treatment fails or you have a previous root treatment that has failed, there is a possibility that it can be repeated.
What if I don’t have the treatment?
The alternative to treatment 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/abscess in the mouth.
Although some people would prefer to have the tooth out, it is usually best to keep as many natural teeth as possible. Sometimes a tooth is too badly decayed to be saved and has to be removed. The space can often be then restored with either an implant or bridge.
For more information or to book a consultation click here or call 01423 565432