Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment is a dental procedure to treat infection at the centre of a tooth. In root canal treatment, once the bacteria are removed, the root canal is shaped and sterilised then filled and the tooth is sealed with a filling or crown.
In most cases, the inflamed tissue at the end of the tooth will heal naturally. If the infection is not removed, it can spread throughout the root canal system of the tooth and cause an abscess leading to damage in the bone around the tooth.
Our associate dentist, Thomas Willan, routinely carries out the more complex root canal treatment at the practice. He has enhanced skills in endodontics (root canal treatment) with postgraduate training and qualifications. He accepts referrals from local practices but is not a specialist.
At Horbury Dental Care we have invested in state-of-the-art equipment to enable Tom and the team to tackle the most complex root canal cases. For example:
- 3D dental x-rays, when appropriate, to aid diagnosis in difficult cases
- A Dental Operating Microscope to aid treatment in difficult cases
- Tom uses a variety of techniques and systems to help achieve success in complicated cases
The Root Canal Treatment Process
- Usually we will numb the tooth with a local anaesthetic.
- The tooth is then isolated from the rest of the teeth with a small rubber sheet called “rubber dam”. This protects your tooth from contamination from saliva and is a very important step in achieving an excellent result.
- An opening is made through the top of the tooth so that we can see inside the roots.
- The pulp is then cleaned with instruments we call files.
- During the procedure we will take a number of small X-rays to ensure that we know exactly how long your tooth is. We use special X-ray film to reduce the radiation. (60 dental X-rays is the equivalent of one Chest X-ray!)
- The insides of the roots are then cleaned, enlarged and shaped so that we can fill them easily.
- Sometimes we will place a disinfectant dressing inside the tooth with a temporary filling to prevent infection if we need to see you again.
- Finally, the canal is sealed to safeguard it against any more infection.
- The tooth is the ready for the usual filling or crown as necessary.
Root Canal Treatment FAQs
Where possible we try to do all the treatment in one visit, but more appointments may be necessary depending upon the tooth involved, the number of roots and the complexity of the case. During this appointment we will clean away the infected dental pulp. The inside of the roots will also be cleaned and slightly enlarged and then finally sealed.
At your examination, your dentist will discuss with you in depth any specific details of the treatment that you may need to be aware of but there are some general points to note when undergoing root canal treatment.
You may experience temporary jaw ache due to the length of the appointment and also some toothache between appointments. After treatment there is a chance you may experience some discomfort. There is a wound at the end of your tooth that must heal, so it is very normal for your tooth to be sore, reaching a peak within 48 hours and getting better every day until 30 days has passed, after which it should feel much like your other teeth in terms of pain to chewing pressure.
The average success rate is between 80% and 90%. Heavily broken-down teeth, a long lasting infection, redoing a root canal treatment (retreatment) or unusual root shapes can reduce the chances of success. At your initial examination your dentist will be able to discuss with you in more detail the individual success rate for your tooth.
The following are options in this scenario:
- We attempt to repeat the procedure – removing the previous root filling and disinfecting the canals
- Root end surgery (apicectomy) – a minor oral surgical procedure which involves accessing the infected area at the tip of the root.
- Remove the tooth- this will ensure the infection is permanently eliminated. You would be left with a gap but this can be filled with a denture, bridge or implant.
If you would like more information or any advice regarding root canal treatment please feel free to contact Deborah May on 01924 211234.