Root canal treatment (or endodontics) involves the removal of inflamed or infected pulp from the centre of the affected tooth. This prevents the infection from spreading and can help save a tooth that may otherwise have to be extracted.
The pulp is made up of soft tissue, including nerves and blood vessels, and extends from the crown to the tips of the root. Damage to the pulp is normally caused by decay, a deep filling or trauma to the tooth.
Symptoms can include;
- Tooth pain
- Tenderness on biting
- Increased sensitivity to temperature
- Discolouration of the affected tooth
- A metallic taste
- Gum tenderness or swelling
What happens when you have a root canal?
Step 1 – Root canal treatment usually requires several appointments and will depend on the type of tooth being treated and the cause of the problem. It may be necessary to manage the initial symptoms with a procedure, carried out under local anaesthetic, to remove the inflamed tissue after which the tooth will be covered and temporarily restored until the next appointment. The presence of infection may necessitate a course of antibiotics.
Step 2 – The affected pulp is removed under a local anaesthetic and the root canals are flushed with an anti-bacterial solution.
Step 3 – The canals are delicately shaped with tiny, flexible instruments and washed again to remove any debris.
Step 4 – The freshly cleaned root canals are then filled to seal the tooth and prevent bacteria from entering.
Step 5 – The tooth is finally topped off with a permanent filling or crown to help restore tooth shape and functionality.
If your root canal treated tooth is looked after properly it should remain trouble-free and provide a long-lasting repair. Even though the pulp has been removed, the tooth will stay intact as the canals have been sealed.
We also recommend regular check-ups so we can detect any problems before they occur.