Root canal treatment
We usually recommend root canal treatment when the pulp of the tooth becomes infected, either through decay or injury. The pulp is the soft bit inside the tooth, and runs right through the root, carrying the nerve supply and nutrients. When it becomes infected, that infection can spread throughout the root canal system of the tooth, and can cause an abscess which is usually extremely painful.
If left untreated the infection can lead to damage around the bone of the tooth, and the tooth is likely to have to be removed.
Root canal treatment can be quite lengthy – because the area we are treating is so small, it takes a great deal of skill and patience. This, combined with the need to let the infected tooth settle down before we complete the treatment, means you are likely to need two or three appointments with us.
During the first visit we will need to remove the infected pulp. We numb the tooth and the surrounding area first so that you do not feel any pain, and then use special tiny tools to take the pulp away. We also shape the root canal so it is easier to fill.
The tooth will need to settle down, so we will give it a temporary filling. Sometimes this filling will include medication to help to destroy any germs and prevent further infection.
On your next visit we will examine the tooth to ensure that the infection has cleared properly, and will replace the temporary filling with a permanent one. Sometimes a filling will be all you will need, but often the root canal treatment weakens the tooth and it will need strengthening with a crown.
This page was last updated on 12 of May 2011