What is Root Canal Treatment?
In the middle of your teeth there is a core of blood vessels and nerves called the pulp. The pulp sits inside a long, narrow space called the root canal. Each tooth can have one or more root canals. Your front teeth often have just one root canal, whereas your back teeth may have three or more.
The pulp in your tooth can become infected with bacteria if your tooth becomes damaged. This can happen in a number of ways. These include:
- Severe tooth decay
- An injury, such as a blow to your mouth
- Cracked or loose fillings, or repeated fillings in your tooth
- Gum disease
If the pulp in your tooth becomes infected your tooth may become painful. If the infection spreads further it can cause a tooth abscess, which is a collection of pus. This can be painful and tender when biting and can cause swelling around your tooth and jaw. Without treatment the infection may spread further into your jawbone and can become very serious.
The aim of root canal treatment is to remove the damaged pulp and the bacteria that are causing infection.
Root canal treatment can save a tooth which would otherwise need to be taken out.
What are the alternatives?
If the tooth is extracted then it may be possible to replace it with a removable denture or a fixed solution such as a bridge or implant.
Replacing it may not always be possible and will possibly cost more than keeping your own tooth that is naturally ‘anchored’ in your jaw.
If the tooth is not replaced, problems may occur such as tipping of the adjacent teethand over-eruption of the opposite tooth, regulating in gaps opening between teeth and possible bite problems.
What happens during root canal treatment?
If you need a local anaesthetic, our specialist will give it to you a few minutes before the procedure, to give it time to work. It may not be required if the tooth is completely dead.
Adnan will use a microscope to identify and create a hole in the top of your tooth and remove the dead or diseased pulp. He will then clean out the root canals using thin, flexible files. The canals are washed with disinfectant which also helps to get rid of any infection. This can take more than one visit. If more than one visit is required you will put a temporary filling in your tooth to keep it sealed until you go back for the next stage of your treatment. At the second visit our specialist will remove the temporary filling and continue with the cleaning process. He will then seal your tooth to prevent infection and further damage. If there is a risk that your tooth may become damaged or broken it may be suggested to have a crown fitted. This is an artificial cap that fits over your tooth and acts as ‘armour plating’ for the tooth.
What is the success rate?
For teeth which have not been previously root treated, the success rate depends on how many root canals are in the tooth, the severity of the infection and the skill of the dentist.
A front tooth usually has only one or two canals and success rates of 95% are likely.
Root canal treatment on molar teeth is much more complex than on front teeth as they have multiple, often curved root canals and access to do the treatment is more difficult.
Teeth which have been previously root treated are also much more difficult to re-treat.
In more difficult cases, such as molar teeth it is recommend that you see a specialist in root canal who has the skills and much more experience in treating difficult situations and will most certainly make the treatment easier for you and give a higher success rate.
If you require further information on your root canal treatment please do not hesitate to contact us.
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