ROOT CANAL TREATMENT FAQs
Why does root canal treatment avoid teeth being removed?
Teeth are held in the jaws by their roots. Your front teeth normally have one root, but teeth which are further back have more. At the core of each tooth is the root canal which contains a soft mass of tissue called the pulp.
In a healthy tooth, it is the pulp which contains the living cells, nerves and a blood supply, which extend into the roots through the root canals. Tooth decay or injury can destroy this living pulp. Normally, a tooth with a dead pulp would be taken out, as they are more prone to infection and this can lead to abscesses and toothache. There is also a possibility of infection spreading beyond the tooth itself. However, root canal treatment means you can usually save the tooth and avoid pain and infection.
What is root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment, also known as root filling, is the removal of this damaged or dead pulp and the filling of the resultant space. Root fillings are usually successful and can last many years, but re-treatment is possible if infection recurs. Teeth can have a number of roots and some roots are easier to fill than others, because of their shape. Occasionally, if inflammation persists at the tip of the root, surgery can be carried out to remove part of the root, clean the area and put in a filling.
Will my filled tooth be the same colour as my other teeth?
Root filled teeth can become darker than other teeth, but bleaching can be used to make them look lighter.
How do you perform root fillings?
When you come to us for root canal treatment we will take an X-ray to assess the tooth. We will give you a local anaesthetic and then make an opening through the top of your tooth, we then use narrow files to remove any dead pulp. To make your treatment more comfortable and to keep your root canal dry during treatment we may stretch a sheet of thin rubber (a rubber dam) around your tooth, on a frame outside your mouth.
Once the pulp has been removed we may put in a temporary filling and possibly give you antibiotics if infection has spread beyond your tooth. To allow your symptoms to settle we will arrange another appointment to complete your treatment. On your next visit we will fill the root canal(s). A normal filling is then used in the remaining cavity in the top of your tooth. If necessary, a crown, supported by a post placed inside the filled root canal, can be placed on top of your tooth.