Until recently, root canal treatment was viewed by many people as the dental treatment to try and avoid at all costs, and one that most would hope never to be told they needed. But the reality is that modern root canal procedures provide an excellent way of saving a tooth which, in the past, would have been extracted.
Root canal treatment is needed when the pulp of the tooth becomes infected through decay or injury. The pulp lies inside the tooth, and delivers its blood supply and nutrients. If the infection is not removed, it can spread throughout the root canal system of the tooth and cause an abscess (which can be extremely painful), and can lead to damage in the bone around the tooth. Without treatment, the tooth is likely to have to be removed.
Root canal treatment involves removing the infected pulp and filling the root canals. This can take two or three visits to complete. First we will make the tooth and its surrounding area numb so you won’t feel any pain. Then we seal it with a special filling material which helps avoid any potential problems in the future. Often the tooth is left weakened by the decay, so we may recommend fitting a crown to strengthen it.
As far as possible, avoid chewing or biting on the tooth being treated until you have it permanently restored with either a filling or a crown. Excessive pressure at this stage may crack or fracture the tooth. Therefore, it is very important to restore the tooth properly as soon as possible. Most treated teeth last as long as natural teeth following permanent restoration.
Practise good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing at all times, as root-filled teeth are as prone to decay as natural teeth. It is also important to have your treated tooth reviewed regularly by your dentist.
Please get in touch if you would like any further information.