Root Canal Treatment

What Is Root Canal Treatment?

Root Canal Treatment (also called Endodontics) is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (known as pulp) is infected through decay or injury. 


Why Is Root Canal Treatment Needed?

If the pulp becomes infected, the infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth. 


This may eventually lead to an abscess. If root canal treatment (RCT) is not carried out, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be taken out. 


Does It Hurt? 

No. A local anaesthetic is used and it should feel no different to having an ordinary filling done. Occasionally after the root canal some painkillers should be taken for a few does in case some pain develops. 


What Does It Involve?

The aim of the treatment is to remove all infection from the root canal. The root is then cleaned and filled to prevent any further infection. Teeth in the back of the mouth that have had root canal should ideally be crowned to avoid future fracture of the tooth. Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. It may involve more than one visit or even better referral to a specialist in cases of difficult root canal anatomy or redoing a previous root canal treatment. 


At the first appointment, the infected pulp is removed. Any abscesses, which may be present, can also be drained at this time. The root canal is then cleaned and shaped ready for the filling. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle. Please be careful not to eat hard food while the temporary filling is in place. It is best you avoid eating on the tooth altogether until all treatment is complete. 


The tooth is checked at a later visit and when all the infection has cleared, the tooth is permanently filled. 


What Will My Tooth Look Like After Treatment? 

In the past, a root filled tooth would often darken. However, with modern techniques this does not usually happen. If there is any discolouration, there are several treatments available to restore the natural appearance. 


What If It Happens Again?

Root canal treatment is usually very successful. However, if the infection comes back the treatment can be repeated. 


What If I Don't Have The Treatment?

The alternative is to have the tooth out. Once the pulp is destroyed, it cannot heal and it is not recommended to leave an infected tooth in the mouth. Although some people would prefer an extraction, it is usually best to keep as many natural teeth as possible. 


Will The Tooth Be Safe After Treatment?

Yes. However, it is better to restore the tooth with a crown to provide extra support and strength to the tooth. 


Where Can This Treatment Be Carried Out? 

Root canal treatment is a routine dental procedure, which your dentist will be happy to do for you. In certain cases, the root canal system anatomy is complicated and referral to a specialist Endodontist is recommended for best care. 


What About Aftercare?

Root-treated teeth should be treated the same as any other tooth. Remember to clean your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Cut down on sugary snacks, and keep them only to mealtimes if possible. Also, it is best you see your dentist for regular check-ups twice a year. 



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