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Root canal treatment

Root canal treatment (also called ‘endodontics’) is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (called the ‘pulp’) is infected through decay or injury. You may not feel any pain in the early stages of the infection. In some cases your tooth could darken in colour, which may mean that the nerve of the tooth has died (or is dying). This would need root canal treatment.

    Why is root canal treatment needed? 

    If the pulp becomes infected, the infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth. This may eventually lead to an abscess. An abscess is an inflamed area in which pus collects and can cause swelling of the tissues around the tooth. The symptoms of an abscess can range from a dull ache to severe pain, and the tooth may be tender when you bite. If root canal treatment is not done, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be taken out.

      What will the treatment involve?

      The first aim of treatment is to get the patient out of any pain. This will often be done by your regular dentist. The next aim is to remove the infected and inflamed pulp tissue, thoroughly clean the root canals and then fill them. It is a time-consuming procedure and can involve two or sometimes three appointments to complete treatment. The success rate of treatment is high. The alternative to root canal treatment is usually extraction.

        Why should the treatment be carried out by an endodontist?

        Root canal treatment or endodontic treatment can be difficult to perform. Root canals are not always easy to find and they can be narrow, they are often curved and they are sometimes long.

        An endodontist only carries out root canal treatments and is treating patients with root canal problems all the time. They have specialised equipment such as a microscopes for magnification and ultrasonic instruments for precise canal location and preparation. They are also experienced in diagnosing the cause of endodontic problems when the cause is not very clear e.g. which tooth is the one causing the pain or the infection.

        An endodontist is accustomed to treating patients with routine as well as challenging root canal problems and therefore the probability of successful outcomes is high.

        Book a consultation with the Capel Dental Care team today on 01267 237363

          Will the treatment hurt?

          With the use of local anaesthetic techniques the treatment is normally quite comfortable. There may be some tenderness following treatment but it can be controlled by the use of medication of the type one might use for a headache.

          What will my tooth look like after treatment?

          In the past, a root-filled tooth would often darken after treatment. However, with modern techniques this does not usually happen. If there is any discolouration, there are several treatments that will restore the natural appearance.

          What if it happens again?

          Root canal treatment is usually very successful. However, if the infection comes back, the treatment can sometimes be repeated.

            What if I don’t have the treatment?

            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 to have the tooth out, it is usually best to keep as many natural teeth as possible.

            Will the tooth be safe after treatment?

            Yes. However, because a ‘dead’ tooth is more brittle, you may need to have a crown to provide extra support and strength to the tooth.

              How do I care for my tooth afterwards?

              Root-treated teeth should be looked after just the same as any other tooth. Remember to clean your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with a fluoride toothpaste. Cut down on sugary foods and drinks, and have them only at mealtimes if possible. See your dental team as often as they recommend for regular check-ups.

              Book a consultation with the Capel Dental Care team today on 01267 237363


                Root canal (endodontics)

                Is extraction a good alternative to root canal treatment?

                Saving your natural teeth, if possible, is always the best option.

                Even the most identical replacement will never be as good as keeping your original tooth. Endodontic treatment, along with restoration if needed, is a cost-effective way to treat teeth with damaged pulp and is usually less expensive than extraction and placement of a bridge or an implant.

                A bridge or an implant will require significantly more time in treatment and may result in further procedures to adjacent teeth and supporting tissues.

                Endodontic treatment also has a very high success rate. Many root-canal-treated teeth last a lifetime. Those healthy teeth are helping patients chew efficiently, maintain the natural appearance of their smiles, and enhance their enjoyment of life. Through endodontic treatment at Portman, you can keep your natural teeth for a lifetime.


                Root canal (endodontics)

                Is a root canal treatment painful?

                Many endodontic procedures are performed to relieve the pain of toothache caused by pulp inflammation or infection. At Portman, we use modern techniques and anaesthetics, and most people report that they’re comfortable during the procedure.

                For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if you had pain or infection before the procedure. This can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Your endodontist will give you detailed instructions about how to relieve any pain.

                Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your endodontic treatment is completed. However, if you have severe pain, pressure, or pain that lasts more than a few days, call your endodontist.


                Root canal (endodontics)

                What happens following endodontic treatment?

                The root canal system inside your tooth has been thoroughly cleaned during your treatment, and any irritated tissue and bacteria are gone.

                It’s normal to feel some tenderness in the area over the next few days as your mouth heals. You may also feel some tenderness in your jaw from keeping it open during the treatment.

                These symptoms are temporary and usually respond well to over-the-counter pain medications, such as paracetamol. It’s important for you to follow the instructions on how to take these medications. Remember that narcotic medications, if prescribed, may make you drowsy, and you should avoid operating machinery or driving a car after taking them.


                Root canal (endodontics)

                Do I need to do anything else after treatment?

                Root canal treatment is only the first step in returning your tooth, and the rest of your mouth, to full function. You’ll need a proper final restoration of the tooth to ensure long-term success.

                Contact your Portman dentist within two weeks of treatment to arrange your next appointment. If your tooth is being treated in more than one visit by an endodontist, wait until the root canal treatment is completed before returning.


                Root canal (endodontics)

                Is my clinician a registered specialist or board-certified?

                You can search for your endodontist on the specialist register on the General Dental Council website.

                All AAE member endodontists are licensed by the country in which they practice. Some endodontists have chosen to become Diplomates of the American Board of Endodontics and are board-certified. You can search for an endodontist who has achieved Diplomate status through the American Board of Endodontics website.

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                At Capel Dental Care we fit crowns (or caps) over an existing tooth to protect it from further damage, or to improve your overall smile if you have had an implant or have a discoloured or misshapen tooth.

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