Root Canal Treatment is the procedure use to treat the infection at the centre of a tooth (the root canal system). The aim of the procedure is to remove all the infection from the root canal system. The infection can be caused by decay, leaking fillings, traumatised teeth or other injury to the root canal system. If root canal treatment is not carried out, an abscess can result and infection can spread which means that the tooth may need to be extracted.
Tooth Structure & Root Canal Treatment
A tooth is made up of two elements. The crown, this is the part of the tooth that’s visible in the mouth. The root extends into the bone of the jaw, anchoring and keeping the tooth in position.
Teeth also consist of:
- Enamel – the hard outer coating.
- Dentine – a softer material that supports the enamel and forms most of the tooth.
- Cementum – a hard material that coats the root’s surface.
- Dental pulp – the soft tissue at the centre of the tooth.
The root canal system contains the dental pulp and extends from the crown of the tooth to the end of the root. A single tooth can have more than one root canal.
What is the procedure for Root Canal Treatment?
Prior to any root canal treatment, your dentist will take an x-ray of the affected tooth. This will allow them to build up a clear picture of the root canal and assess the extent of any damage. Root canal treatment is usually carried out under local anaesthetic. In some cases, where the tooth has died and is no longer sensitive, it may not be necessary to use a local anesthetic. The centre of your tooth will be opened in order to remove the infected pulp (nerves at centre of tooth). Cleaning and shaping of the Root Canal System will be carried out with a series of files and the root canal will be filled. Furthermore, the remainder of the tooth will then be sealed using a filling.
Root-filled teeth are more likely to break than healthy teeth, so your dentist in the majority of cases will advise a crown to protect the tooth from biting forces and improve aesthetics. You should also avoid biting on hard foods such as ice, apples and sweets until all treatment is complete. This is to ensure that no time is wasted and that treatment is fully effective.
When is a crown required?
Your dentist may recommend a crown to:
- Replace a large filling when there isn’t enough ‘tooth’ remaining.
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing.
- Restore a fractured tooth.
- Attach a bridge.
- Cover a dental implant.
- Cover a discoloured or poorly shaped tooth.
- Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment.
Root Canal Treatment is a highly skilled and time consuming procedure and may take two or more visits to the dentist. It may take several appointments depending on the extent of your symptoms and infection. As root canal treatment is classified as an endodontic treatment, it’s highly likely that three visits may be required to complete the full treatment. The first appointment will work on fixing the pain you have and making the tooth much more manageable. Once the pain has settled, it’s then that we can arrange the further appointments.
Root canal treatment saves teeth that would otherwise need to be extracted; this is ultimately beneficial for long-term oral health and hygiene. You’ll also be glad to know that the procedure is virtually pain-free and leaves you with less discomfort during recovery than if you have your natural tooth extracted. Furthermore, root canal treatments are very cost-effective!
The tooth will be locally anesthetized prior to any root canal treatment to ensure it’s a comfortable procedure for you. After the root canal treatment is completed some patients may feel some sensitivity or tenderness for a few days due to inflammation of the surrounding gum tissues. This discomfort can be relieved by taking mild painkillers. However, if the pain persists or a swelling occurs, you should contact the dental practice and dentist.
Most people can help prevent the need for further root canal treatment by maintaining good oral hygiene, being careful to avoid too much sugary food and quitting smoking. Root canal treatment isn’t too much different to other dental treatments when it comes to aftercare. We highly encourage all patients to avoid overly hard foods, especially right after root canal treatment, and to brush your teeth daily for two minutes with an electric toothbrush. All pain experienced after root canal treatment will be mild but in the rare can that you experience any moderate to severe pain, we urge you to get in touch with us immediately. We would also adviser patients for root canal treatment to also visit the hygienist to help maintain good oral health.
Contact Westbury Dental Care and Implant Centre
If you’re suffering from severe tooth pain upon chewing or the application of pressure, it’s likely that you may need root canal treatment. Here at Westbury Dental Care and Implant Centre, we do all we can to save patients’ teeth and avoid tooth extractions. Root canal treatment is the best alternative that eradicates all pain AND allows you to preserve your tooth. Get in touch with us today on 020 8942 8943 or use our contact form to book an appointment with us!