Root canal treatment is a common dental procedure of which many thousands are performed worldwide every year. It is also known as endodontic treatment.
At the centre of the tooth is the nerve or dental pulp. The nerve in the tooth may become infected for several reasons:
- Tooth decay
- Trauma to the tooth, such as a bump playing contact sport
- Repeated previous extensive dental work such as fillings, crowns, and bridges
- Cracks or chips in teeth
Symptoms of infection may include swelling of the gum, pain with hot or cold drinks, or pain on biting.
Root canal treatment aims to stop the pain, remove the infection and seal the inside of the tooth to prevent it happening again.
How is a root canal treatment performed?
The infected dental pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. A rubber sheet (rubber dam) is routinely used throughout the procedure to isolate the tooth to help disinfect the tooth thoroughly. This treatment is usually carried out with the use of a microscope and under local anaesthetic.
Treatment is normally completed in a couple of visits, this will depend on the tooth needing treatment. Root canal treatment is successful in around 90% of cases.
If your tooth is not suitable for root canal treatment or the chance of success is unfavorable, you will be informed at the time of consultation or during the treatment. The alternative to root canal treatment is often removal of the tooth. If this happens, consideration can be given to replacing the tooth with an implant, bridge or partial denture, this can be discussed with your own dentist or one of our in house restorative Specialists.
Does it hurt?
Root canal treatment has a reputation for causing pain. If done properly, this should never be the case. All treatment will be carried out under local anaesthetic, so there should be no reason that the treatment should be uncomfortable.
What is the referral process?
Your dentist will normally contact us with a letter/email of referral.
On receipt of this referral, one of our reception staff shall contact you to book an appointment.
What happens on my first visit?
On your first visit, a full consultation and dental examination will be carried out, along with appropriate X-rays. This helps to make an accurate assessment and diagnosis so as to provide you with the most appropriate advice regarding your tooth. Our Specialists Endodontist will then explain and discuss their findings, treatment options and costs with you.
Should you have any questions or queries regarding the proposed treatment plan, they will be happy to answer any queries or concerns you have.
Treatment is not normally carried out on this visit. However, if you are in pain or have sustained a recent dental injury and your dentist makes this known beforehand, then treatment may be commenced.
How much will it cost?
The costs associated with this procedure can vary depending on such factors as the severity of damage to the affected tooth and which tooth is affected. In general, endodontic treatment is much less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with an artificial tooth. An estimate of costs will be provided before commencement of treatment.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER TREATMENT?
At the conclusion of treatment, the initial quoted fee covers the cost of a temporary filling to cover the tooth. This has an average lifespan of a few months.
Following treatment, you would usually visit your own dentist to provide an appropriate crown or filling or if you dentist has requested, our Specialist Prosthodontist or Restorative Specialists can provide you with this treatment. A detailed treatment report and x-rays will be sent to you and your dentist for ongoing care. You should contact your dentist for a follow-up appointment within a few weeks of completion of treatment. To prevent further dental decay, continue to routinely undertake good dental hygiene measures. If you do not have access to a hygienist, you can now refer yourself, please ask reception for more details.
It is rare for patients to experience complications after treatment. However, if a problem does occur, you should contact us immediately so that we can help.