Root Canal (Endodontic) Therapy
What is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal treatment (medical termed endodontics) is carried out when the nerve and blood vessels in the centre of the tooth becomes damaged or infected. This may lead to signs of acute inflammation (pain and swelling) or infection (an abscess and loss of bone) in the surrounding jawbone, although it can sometimes remain pain-free. It can also lead to the tooth discolouring (grey or black).
With effective local anaesthesia, root canal treatment is a painless procedure. It is a very important procedure that determines the comfort and integrity of the tooth thereby preserving the functional and cosmetic role i.e. saves the tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted.
Secure foundations are the key to long-lasting restorations
What causes this problem?
The most common cause of nerve or blood damage is severe decay or a fracture that exposes the root to bacteria that may cause infection. Other causes: include traumatic injury such as a blow to the mouth, a cracked or defective filling or repeated fillings in a tooth, and occasionally periodontal (gum) disease.
Common symptoms requiring a root canal treatment
- Severe toothache, typically relieved by cold water and made worse by the intake of hot liquids
- Pain that gets worse when you lie down
- Pain that stays for a long time after consuming cold food or drinks
- Swelling around the tooth
- Constant tooth pain
- Pain when chewing
- Pain referred to the head and ears as well
What does Root Canal Therapy involve?
Diagnosis – Endodontic treatment can be performed only if the root canals (centre of the tooth) are accessible and be adequately cleaned and sealed. There must also be sufficient tooth structure remaining and good bone support around the root to allow the tooth to be properly restored. Akit will make the diagnosis and only recommend treatment where he can give a good long-term outlook and has an economical benefit. If the tooth is too structurally compromised to be successfully or predictably restored, then it may be better to remove the tooth and restore it with a dental implant and crown.
Treatment – Akit works with a number of leading Endodontists (specialist in Endodontic treatment), who are recognised as one of the foremost endodontic experts, to carry out the procedure using start of the art equipment and techniques in a comfortable and painless way, such as: 3D scans, operating microscopes, ultra-sonic cleaning in a clean and germ-free environment.
Root canal treatment involves removing the diseased or damaged pulp tissue (nerve and blood vessels) from the root canal. The root canal will then be carefully cleaned, disinfected and shaped prior to being sealed with a plastic root filling, which will help prevent re-infection. The tooth is then restored with a bonded tooth coloured filling or a crown to reinforce the tooth.
The pulp tissue sits within a complex anatomical map requiring specialised techniques to read and work through across the map.
If you need an endodontic re-treatment, it means that the previous root canal treatment failed or that symptoms persist. This may happen shortly after the original treatment or even years later. Endodontic re-treatment involves the removal of existing root filling material, re-cleaning and disinfecting the root canals and placing a new root filling.
In some cases a surgical procedure called an ‘apicectomy’ is also necessary. This is when the problem is not solved by a conventional root treatment alone. A small surgical procedure is performed to remove the infected root tip, clean and remove any infection or cyst in the bone.
In most cases a root treatment or re-treatment can be performed in a single visit, but occasionally may require two more visits. For the first few days after treatment, there may be some mild discomfort, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. Sometimes anti-inflammatory medications are recommended after the procedure.
Maintenance – Endodontic treatment currently have a success rate of up to 90%. As yet, there are no long term clinical scientific data to tell us how long a root treatment will last although long term failure does not appear to be a frequent problem.
Problems can occur if the tooth develops decay or a crack, or the restoration on the tooth fails, or on occasions despite good care the tooth may not heal as expected. If the infection reoccurs then further endodontic treatment or surgery may be carried out if appropriate. Therefore it is important that the tooth is restored properly with its final restoration (filling or crown) to protect it from fracture or re-infection tooth and to restore it to full function.
Root-treated teeth should be treated just the same as any other tooth. Optimum hygiene is essential for maintaining good oral health and increases the life span of the complete restoration and therefore you may have to visit the hygienist regularly for cleaning maintenance.
Endodontic treatment is the best way to get instant pain relief and if done properly it doesn’t hurt
If you would like to see clinical cases of root canal (endodontic) therapy, please view the gallery.