Root canal treatment is a safe and effective procedure designed to eliminate bacteria from the infected roots of teeth. It prolongs the life of your tooth allowing you to eat, chew and smile with confidence free from any pain and infection.
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The inside of a tooth comprises a chamber known as the "pulp cavity" and channels known as "Root canals" which comprise nerves and blood vessels that give sensation and bring nutrients to the tooth.
Trauma, decay and poor oral health can cause the nerve within the tooth to die or the insides of the tooth can become infected when bacteria gets in through damaged or weakened enamel, or when a restoration such as a filling or crown becomes loose.
Sometimes, pain might be the first indication that a tooth is infected but often it can go undetected because the nerves in damaged teeth can die slowly, desensitising it over time.
If left untreated, the tooth can become discoloured, heavily infected or cystic leading to tooth or even bone loss.
This is why regular dental check-ups are an important step in the maintenance of a healthy smile.
We have several tests, including temperature testing, percussion testing, transillumination under magnification, X-rays and CBCT scans that allow us to identify if a tooth has died and to decide if it requires root canal treatment to prevent acute pain from developing.
'Root canal treatment' is a means by which we try and save a dying tooth and prevent it from being removed. Root canal treatment when done carefully in the right circumstances and with the right expertise has a very success rate above 90%.
There are two main procedures associated with Inman aligner treatment which allow us to be able to give you the beautiful smile that you deserve. One of them is the use of attachment technology and the other is known as IPR. More details of each are given below:
Root canal treatment is the last resort treatment needed to save a tooth where the nerve within it is either dying or has died and/or become infected.
Your dentist will be able to assess and tell you. Some tell tale signs are when you have immense tooth pain that is unrelenting and keeps you awake at night or a swollen face or infection/abscess. However there are many times when a tooth is completely pain-free but is still infected and needs a root canal treatment.
If you do not wish to have root canal treatment performed the only alternative is to remove the affected tooth.
This is not a good idea as it would mean leaving a dying, dead and/or infected in your mouth which can have repercussions to your general health and can even be life threatening in certain exceptional circumstances. If you are unsure whether you actually need a root canal treatment it is always worthwhile getting a second opinion – especially from a root canal specialist or dentist with a specialist interest in root canal therapy.
During root canal treatment, the top of the infected tooth is removed so that the dentist can access and remove the dying or dead nerve tissue and any internal infection that maybe present. The root canals are then disinfected thoroughly and subsequently sealed to prevent further bacterial ingress. This procedure is carried out under careful microscopic magnification so it can be performed with the utmost care and attention that it deserves.
In the majority of cases a 1.5 - 2 hour appointment is all that is required to complete this procedure in one visit. There are however other cases such as repeat root canal treatments or heavily infected teeth or those with multiple root canals or complex anatomy where more than 1 visit may be required to complete the procedure.
Teeth undergoing root canal treatments for the first time and when done by experienced clinicians and when done to a high standard using the appropriate materials should have a high level of success – around 90-95% chance of success.
Repeat root canal treatments or those with complex anatomy or heavily infected teeth may have a lower success rate of approximately 70-75% even in the best of hands.
Any dentist who is suitably trained and experienced should be able to carry out root canal treatments of simple-moderate difficulty. Root canal specialists are experts in the field of root canal treatment who perform these treatments all day everyday. They can carry out the full spectrum of root canal treatments from simple to most complex given their increased levels of training and expertise in this area.
The root canal procedure is always carried out under local anaesthetic and sometimes sedation for those who are particular anxious. Careful pain control measures ensure that this procedure should never be painful during the procedure. Quite a lot of our patients actually fall asleep during the procedure which shows how relaxed they are during it.
Admittedly there are certain cases where teeth which are either heavily inflamed or infected will not go numb easily. In these cases we need to spend a lot longer making the teeth go numb. Even in these situation If careful time spent in making the teeth go numb with the use of the latest technology means that there should never be a time where the root canal procedure is painful. It should always be a painless procedure.
For a few days after the procedures you can expect some pain, soreness or swelling which in most cases is only mild-moderate and can last up to 1 week and managed with simple painkillers. There are of course exceptional circumstances where the post op pain can be more severe and take a little longer to settle. Your dentist will usually follow you up after the procedure to see how you are doing.
The tooth is always filled with a restoration to seal the root canal and prevent bacterial getting in again. For back/molar teeth a crown is strongly advised to strengthen and protect the tooth from fracture as the tooth will be more brittle after root canal treatment.
A well-made and well-fitting crown, combined with good oral health and regular check-ups and maintenance with your dentist, can ensure your tooth lasts the test of time.
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