Endodontic treatment or root canal treatment is usually the last resort treatment to save a tooth where the nerve and blood vessels inside the tooth become damaged either due to a bacterial insult, infection or trauma.
Root canal therapy often gets bad press however when done with meticulous precision, under magnification and with adequate local anaesthesia it should be a painless comfortable procedure with success rates in the region of 90-95%.
Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentine, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue and creates the surrounding hard tissues of the tooth during development. The pulp extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the roots via root canals.
Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected. Root canal treatment (RCT) is one type of endodontic treatment.
The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes such as:
Common signs or symptoms may include:
Endodontic treatment can often be performed in one or two visits and involves the following steps:
If the tooth lacks sufficient structure to hold the restoration in place a post may be required inside the tooth.
Many procedures are performed to relieve the pain from toothaches caused by pulp inflammation or infection. Modern techniques and anaesthetics allow the vast majority of patients to be comfortable during the procedure.
For the first few days after treatment, your tooth and surrounding gums may feel sensitive or tender. Over-the-counter medications, such as Ibuprofen or Paracetamol are usually enough to manage this.
Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your endodontic treatment is completed. Of course, if pain persists or if you experience severe pain, you can call us for further advice.
Most teeth can be treated. Sometimes a tooth can’t be saved if the root canals are not accessible, the tooth/root is severely fractured, the tooth doesn’t have adequate bone support, or the tooth cannot be restored.
No treatment or active clinical monitoring may leave you susceptible to repeated episodes of pain and infection. Sometimes active clinical monitoring may be appropriate if the diagnosis is unclear.
Another alternative is the extraction of the tooth, which may be replaced.
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