Root treatments / Endodontics
What is root canal treatment?
Root canal (endodontic) treatment is the removal of inflamed, diseased or injured soft tissue and/or bacteria inside the root canal of a tooth. The soft tissue is known as the pulp and is made up of blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue
Why would I need root canal treatment
The purpose of root canal treatment is to restore an unhealthy or diseased tooth so that it may function correctly inside your mouth. When a tooth has suffered trauma, such as a knock or fall, or has had significant decay or a large restoration (filling or crown), bacteria may reach the pulp. The injured pulp tissue may eventually die and the root canal may become infected, causing pain, abscess or it may remain symptom-free. In severe cases, this infection may spread to the surrounding bone. If root canal treatment is not performed, the tooth may have to be removed
What does root canal treatment involve?
The aim of root canal treatment is to remove the infected pulp tissue. Once the bacteria are destroyed, the canal is cleaned and filled. The majority of root canal treatments involve two or more appointments with the endodontist, although sometimes it may be completed in one visit. This decision will be made by the endodontist at the time of consultation and diagnosis. Initial consultations are usually half an hour and the length of treatment appointments will depend on the complexity of the procedure. You will be advised of this after your initial consultation.
An endodontist is a dental surgeon who specialises in the treatment of endodontic problems. The term ‘endodontic’ stems from the Greek words ‘endo’ – inside and ‘odont’ – tooth, and treatment often involves root canal therapy.
All dentists receive training in endodontic treatment in dental school and can perform endodontic procedures as general dentists. However, it is often necessary for the general dentist to refer endodontic cases to an Endodontist.
An endodontist (or a specialist in endodontics) has undertaken post-graduate advanced training in endodontics for one to three years following their dental degree, and will have the letters MSc (Master of Science) or MClinDent (Master of Clinical Dentistry) after their names. Endodontists perform routine and complex procedures including surgical procedures and are experienced in diagnosing causes of oral and facial pain.
Why might I be referred to a Specialist Endodontist?
Although all dentists have received training in endodontic procedures, Endodontists have more training and experience with this type of treatment and use special equipment such as endodontic microscopes and micro instruments which allow them to access the fine, curved root canals within the tooth, that can be very difficult to reach.
Is it painful?
Endodontic treatment is performed using local anaesthetic and the whole process should feel no different to that of having an ordinary filling placed. There should be no pain during treatment and every possible effort is made to ensure your comfort throughout the procedure. It is normal to have some minor discomfort for a short time after treatment and you will be advised about managing this.
What if I am nervous?
Your individual needs will be discussed with you at the time of your consultation. We are able to provide oral or intravenous sedation for those patients who feel they may not cope with treatment otherwise or for some more complex procedures.
Will this procedure be successful?
Although it is impossible to guarantee the success of any medical or dental procedure, root canal treatment has a very high success rate. The factors influencing the success of root canal treatment include how infected the tooth is, how long the infection has been present and if the tooth has previously been root treated. In some instances, healing may not occur and alternative treatments may be advised to remove the infection.
What happens afterwards?
You will need to see your dentist soon after the root canal treatment for the final restoration. Usually this is a crown that needs to be prepared and subsequently placed on heavily restored teeth to protect them from fracture. On some occasions this may not be needed and the endodontist will inform you about this. He or she may wish to see you again for review of the treatment and you will be advised of this at the end of your appointment.
Due to the nature of the treatments we request notice of 48 hours prior to changes or cancellation of appointments. This is to allow us time to contact those patients who may be in urgent need of treatment and ensures that we can offer an efficient service to all of our patients at all times. It will be necessary to charge a late cancellation fee should this policy be overlooked.
Please note we are not currently able to carry out full arch cone beam CT scans at 42 but usually we make arrangements for this with several of our IMAGING partners
Further information about root canal treatment will be provided to you by your Endodontist
OR VISIT: The American Association of Endodontists