Root canal therapy is a treatment used to save a badly damaged or unhealthy tooth. When a tooth hurts continuously or has an abscess, root canal therapy could be carried out in order to save the tooth. Endodontics is the science and practice of root fillings or root canal therapy. Root fillings can often be the difference between losing or keeping a tooth.
All Root canal treatment can be carried out by all of our dentists, however, we are very fortunate that Dickon has a special interest in this field and accepts referrals from fellow dentists for more complex cases. We use modern materials and equipment to ensure the best outcome and minimal discomfort to our patients. We know no one wants a root treatment, but if you need one because you are in pain and the only other option is extraction, it is a fantastic treatment!
The crown of the tooth is made up of the hard, white, enamel layer and a thicker dentine layer. Both these hard layers protect the innermost soft tissues of the tooth called the pulp. The dental pulp contains blood vessels and nerves within and extends from the crown to the tips of the root or roots.
Root canal treatment involves the removal of the pulp tissues from the tooth if it gets infected or inflamed. The pulp can be infected or inflamed due to either deep decay or a big filling that involves the pulp, cracked or fractured tooth due to trauma or tooth grinding, excessive wear of enamel and dentine exposing the pulp, and sometimes as a result of severe gum disease.
Signs of pulp damage may include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, swelling, tenderness of the overlying gums or a bad taste in the mouth. On the other hand, there may be no symptoms at all. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can eventually cause pain, swelling and loss of the supporting bone.
Root canal treatment saves teeth that would otherwise have been extracted.
After root canal treatment the tooth is pulp-less i.e. it has no vital tissues within. However, there are vital tissues surrounding the root e.g. the gum, periodontal membrane and supporting bone. A root canal treated tooth can function normally and can be maintained with routine dental care and oral hygiene measures.
Root canal treatment procedures are usually painless as the tooth is anaesthetised with strong local anaesthetic during treatment. After treatment, the tooth may be sensitive or tender for a few days due to inflammation of the surrounding tissues. This discomfort can be relieved by taking mild analgesics or painkillers available over the counter at the chemist. However, if the pain persists and is severe, or a swelling occurs, you should contact us promptly.
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 endodontically treated teeth last as long as natural teeth following teeth are as root-filled are as prone to decay as natural teeth. It is also important to have your treated tooth reviewed regularly by your dentist. Practice good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing at all times.
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