The aim of root canal treatment ( also called ‘endodontic’ treatment) is to save a tooth that has been badly damaged due to decay, disease or injury. In a healthy tooth the pulp is the soft tissue deep inside a tooth which contains nerves and blood vessels. The pulp is involved in the development of the tooth. A fully developed tooth can function without a pulp if root canal treatment has been successful.
To treat an infected pulp the dentist needs gain access to the pulp by drilling an opening through the crown of the tooth. Special instruments called files can then be introduced which are used to remove the inflamed or infected pulp. The space left once this pulp is removed is subsequently cleaned and shaped and dressed with anti bacterial medicines. At a subsequent visit the cleaned space within the tooth is filled and sealed to help prevent the infection returning. After treatment the tooth can survive because it is nourished by the healthy tissues around it.
Once root canal treatment is completed your dentist may recommend that the tooth is protected by an artificial crown. Root treated teeth are prone to fracture, covering the tooth with a ‘cap’ or crown helps to prevent tooth fracture.
As with all medical treatments, root canal treatment has risks.
Loss of tooth – It is not possible to predict how long treatment will last. It should be many years but this cannot be guaranteed
Infection – The risk of re-infection are low. However, if the infection does occur again the tooth may have to have the root canal treatment repeated or be removed.
Pain or Discomfort – some people may continue to have pain and discomfort during and following treatment. Further treatment may be required.
Discolouration – In some cases a treated tooth may discolour. The discolouration can generally be treated by bleaching or a covering layer placed on the tooth.
Weakness – A tooth that has had root canal treatment is weaker and liable to fracture. It is recommended that a crown or cap be fitted to protect the treated tooth.
File Fracture – Special metal files are used to clean the inside of the root canal. These files are very fine and occasionally fracture. Referral to a specialist endodontist would be required to remove the fractured instrument.
Re-treatment – Pain or infection may occur months or years after the tooth has been root treated. Further endodontic treatment may be required to save the tooth or even extraction may be recommended.
Your dentist here at Beach Road Dental Care will happily provide a quote for you root canal treatment and answer any questions you may have.