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Root Canal – Endodontics

If you are in need of a root canal treatment you may feel a little nervous or worried. Often this procedure can be considered a painful or scary one. Rest assured that a root canal treatment is now a painless and much more dignified procedure. Endodontics (also known as root canal treatment) is well practiced and regularly carried out by our skilled professionals at Inspired Dentistry.

Don’t be tempted to ignore the need for a root canal in the hope it will go away. If left untreated you are likely to be in more pain than you would experience during the procedure itself! If the problem is left you could well end up with a painful abscess- you might even loose the tooth altogether.

Why do I need a root filling?

The need for a root canal will arise as the result of an infection in the inner part of your tooth. A tooth comprises of several layers; the hard outer enamel, a softer dentin layer underneath and the central ‘pulp’ layer of the tooth which contains the root and soft tissues connecting it to the gum.

Sometimes the inside pulp of the tooth becomes infected- usually because of decay or damage. In this instance it is necessary to completely remove the infected pulp, cleaning and disinfecting the inside of your tooth and then filling it to help protect and stop any infection returning.

Although the pulp is required for the healthy development of a tooth, once it has fully matured it is possible to remove this pulp layer without any ill-effects. Provided it is cleaned and well-sealed an adult tooth can survive perfectly well for many years- although you may notice it starts to discolour a little overtime.

The alternatives to a root canal

In truth, there aren’t many alternatives to a root canal treatment. The only other real option is to completely remove the tooth and replace it with a bridge or dental implant.

Both of these options would work perfectly well but are generally more lengthy, involved and costly.

We would always advise against the removal of a tooth if there is another option. Many issues can arise as the result of a missing tooth. These won’t just be cosmetic- affecting the way you look and feel but will also affect the health of your mouth in the long-run.

Surely if a missing tooth is not very visible it won’t cause me any problems.

Well, yes- it could do! As well as an impact on your general self-confidence you may also notice difficulties with speaking or eating. A missing tooth can increase your chances of developing bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease- because food and bacteria can be easily trapped and missed when you brush. Your other teeth could also start to move when you have a gap- resulting in twisting or unwanted spacing between the teeth you actually can see.

The root canal procedure

Before we make a start, we will fully check your tooth to ensure that a root canal is definitely required. X-rays will be taken so that we can see the root and inside your jawbone.

A local anaesthetic will be administered to ensure you don’t experience any discomfort.

Initially your tooth will be prepared with a dam to help keep it dry and free from any bacteria. A small hole is then drilled in the top of the tooth and a special tool used to completely remove all the dental pulp inside. One the tooth is completely emptied it will be flushed out to ensure all bacteria is removed.

The root will be filled with a material called gutta percha- and natural product known for its inert yet resilient properties. Your tooth will then be finished with a crown or filling- allowing you to use it again.

A root canal treatment may be completed over one or two appointments depending on the complexity of your case. If necessary, a temporary cover will be placed over the tooth to protect it between appointments.

Looking after a tooth following a root canal:

Following your treatment it’s important to be very careful with the tooth. If you need to return for a second appoint you should avoid eating on the tooth until you’ve had the final crown or filling placed.

Once it has been finished you need to keep the tooth clean with regular brushing or flossing. You should always attend regular check-ups so that we can keep an eye on it.

With good care and regular attention your root filled tooth could last just as long as any of your natural teeth.

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