Root canal treatment (also called endodontics) is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (known as the pulp) is infected through decay or injury.
If the pulp becomes infected, the infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth. This may eventually lead to an abscess. If root canal treatment (RCT) is not carried out, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be taken out.
A local anaesthetic is used and it should feel no different to having an ordinary filling done.
The aim of the treatment is to remove all infection or acute inflammation from the root canal. The root is then cleaned and filled to prevent any further infection. Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure.
In the past, a root filled tooth would often darken after treatment. However, with modern techniques this does not always happen. If there is any discolouration, there are several treatments available to restore the natural appearance.
Root canal treatment is usually very successful. However, if the infection comes back the treatment can be repeated.
It is a time consuming and skilled procedure using expensive equipment and micro-precision tools, many of which are single use and discarded after treatment, the fee will reflect this. Your dentist will be pleased to give you an estimate.
The alternative is to have the tooth removed. Once the pulp is destroyed, it can’t heal and it is not recommended to leave an infected tooth in the mouth. Although some people would prefer an extraction, it is usually best to keep as many natural teeth as possible.
Yes. However, it is often advised to restore the tooth with a crown to provide extra support and strength to the weakened tooth.
Root canal treatment is a routine dental procedure, which your dentist will be happy to do for you.
Root-treated teeth should be treated just the same as any other tooth. Remember to clean your teeth at least once a day, preferably with a fluoride toothpaste. Cut down on sugary snacks, and keep them only to mealtimes if possible. See your dentist for regular check-ups.