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Root Canal Treatment

 

Why Would You Need Root Canal Treatment?


Root canal treatment is required for two main reasons. The first is infection. An untreated cavity is a common cause of pulp infection. The decay erodes the enamel and dentin of the tooth until it reaches a root canal. This allows bacteria to infect the pulp. Antibiotics can't get to infections inside teeth. The inflammation caused by the infection reduces the blood supply to the tooth. The reduced blood supply also keeps the pulp from healing.

Root canal treatments are becoming a very regular dental treatment.

Please find some of the main question and queries we receive.

What is a root canal?

It is the blood and nerve supply, which runs along the center of the tooth down to the tip of the root (also known as pulp).

What is root canal treatment?

Decay or a blow to a tooth can lead to infection of the root canal of a tooth. The cleaning and filling of an infected root canal is root canal treatment.

What happens if I don’t root canal treat a tooth?

If the tooth is infected, the infection usually spreads resulting in a potentially dangerous swelling and loss of the tooth.

Does it hurt?

No. A local anaesthetic is used and it should feel no different to having an ordinary filling done. Sometimes it can be sore afterwards because of infection, but antibiotics usually resolve this problem.

Can I claim for any of the cost?

Yes, up to 20% of the cost can be claimed back.

Will I need a Crown afterwards?

It depends on how weak the tooth is. We generally advise that back teeth be crowned after root canal treatment. Trauma or a fractured tooth can damage the pulp, a lot of restoration, such as several fillings placed in the same tooth over a period of time. Sometimes, common dental procedures, such as preparing a tooth for a crown, can hurt the pulp. Then the tooth might need a root canal.

When the pulp is inflamed but not infected, it may heal on its own. If the pulp remains inflamed, it can be painful and may lead to infection.

An infection in the pulp can affect the bone around the tooth. This can cause an abscess to form. The goal of root canal treatment is to save the tooth by removing the infected or damaged pulp, treating any infection, and filling the empty root canals with a material called gutta percha.

If root canal treatment is not done, an infected tooth may have to be extracted. It is better to keep your natural teeth if you can. If a tooth is missing, neighboring teeth can drift out of line. They also can be overstressed from chewing. Keeping your natural teeth also helps you to avoid other treatments, such as implants or bridges. Also, if you ignore an infected or injured tooth the infection can spread to other parts of your body.

Having root canal treatment on a tooth does not mean that the tooth will need to be pulled out in a few years. Once a tooth is treated, it almost always will last the rest of your life.

Signs and Symptoms

If you have an infection of the pulp, you may not feel any pain at first. But if it is not treated, the infection will cause pain and swelling. In some cases, an abscess will form.

Your tooth might need a root canal if:

  • It hurts when you bite down on it, touch it or push on it
  • It is sensitive to heat
  • It is sensitive to cold for more than a couple of seconds
  • There is swelling near the tooth
  • It is discoloured (whether it hurts or not)
  • It is broken

You will be given X-rays of the bone around the tooth. The X-rays may show a widening of the ligament that holds the tooth in place or a dark spot at the tip of the root. If either of these is present, your dentist probably will recommend a root canal procedure.

Root Canal Treatment requires a skilled dentist and it is also a time-consuming procedure, perhaps needing more than one appointment.