Root canal (Endodontic) Treatment
Root Canal Treatment involves removing the dead or dying pulp from inside a tooth and then sealing the cavity. The pulp inside a narrow tube or tubes that run from the crown of the tooth to the root tips, these tubes are called root canals.
When is Root Canal Treatment needed?
When the nerve of a tooth is dead or dying the only way to avoid a tooth extraction is a Root Canal Treatment. This will prevent the complications that result from having a missing tooth.
A dead or dying tooth may become painful, sore to bite on, or be particularly sensitive to heat and cold. It may have a large cavity or deep filling which extend near to the nerve of the tooth. Sometimes a tooth can die without causing any noticeable pain.
How are Root Canal Treatments done?
- Once the tooth is completely numb the root canal is cleaned thoroughly through a small hole in the top of the tooth using fine files and cleaning solutions.
- Special instruments are used, and X-rays are taken to ensure complete cleaning of the canal.
- Finally, the canal is sealed with a root canal filling.
This usually takes 2 or 3 appointments.
Once the Root Canal Treatment is finished it is very important to protect the tooth by covering it’s top with a crown. Root treated teeth are more brittle and are prone to fracture so a crown that acts as a ‘crash helmet’ helps prolong the life of the tooth for as long as possible.
Alternatively, an ordinary filling can be placed, however although cheaper, this will not support the tooth and it is likely further fracture will lead to its loss.
How successful is root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment is usually successful at saving the tooth and clearing the infection.
More than 80% of root treatments are successful.
Having a crown fitted to the tooth after root canal treatment is important for improving tooth survival rates.
The survival of your tooth depends on several factors, including:
- How much of the natural tooth remains
- How well you keep your teeth clean
the biting forces on the tooth and
- Whether the tooth has been crowned or not