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Saving teeth

Root Treatment – getting you out of pain

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!

When Is Root Canal Treatment Needed?

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.

What Are The Advantages Of Root Canal Treatment?

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.

Is Root Canal Treatment Painful?

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.

How Is Root Canal Treatment Carried Out?

  • Removal of the infected or inflamed pulp is the first step in saving the tooth. Under local anaesthetic, an opening is made in the top of the tooth to get access to the infected or inflamed pulp within.
  • Using the latest nickel titanium rotary files, the root canals are cleaned and shaped to a form that can be sealed. Debris within the canals is removed by flushing with an anti-bacterial solution.
  • The canals are finally filled or sealed with an inert material called gutta-percha. The tooth should be restored to full shape and function by either a permanent filling or a crown, depending on how much of the tooth is left. This should be done as soon as possible as there could be a risk of tooth fracture due to biting forces.
  • All root canal treatment procedures are performed by isolating the tooth with a rubber dam to provide a clean and saliva-free environment. Root canal treatment may be done in single or multiple visits depending on the complexity of the tooth. In between treatment appointments, medicament’s may be placed within the canals and the tooth is covered with a temporary filling.
  • Often, X-rays are taken to determine the length of the root and to monitor the various treatment stages.

Care Of The Root-Treated Tooth

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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Burgess Hill Dental Care, 75 Station Rd, Burgess Hill RH15 9DY, United Kingdom info@burgesshilldental.co.uk 01444 233454 Call us on: 01444 233454