What is a root canal treatment?
A root canal treatment is a commonly performed dental procedure used to treat infections at the centre of the tooth. Root canal procedures have high success rates and can save a tooth that may have otherwise been lost to infection and would therefore have to be removed.
Why do you need a root canal treatment?
Failing to undergo a root canal treatment can become very painful and even lead to permanent tooth loss. The reason your tooth becomes infected is due to the bacteria that lives in your mouth that attacks and invades your tooth. There are a few reasons this can happen, including:
- Tooth decay (as a result of poor oral hygiene)
- Fillings that have cracked or are leaky
- Injuries to the teeth
Successful root canal treatments will alleviate the pain caused by the infection and save the affected tooth (if the infection is caught early).
Signs of when you need a root canal
An X-ray is required to find out whether you do or do not need a root canal. Our team will be able to see if your natural tooth (specifically the pulp) has become infected.
You may require a root canal if the pulp of your tooth has been damaged by infection.
The pulp is the most important part of your tooth, it is made up of blood vessels and connective tissue. The pulp is the centre of your tooth and is where infection targets, leaving you requiring a root canal.
If your tooth pulp becomes infected, you may experience:
- Pain when either drinking or eating
- Pain when biting and chewing (even with soft foods)
- A loose tooth
Many patients experience their symptoms going away, and they believe the pulp has healed itself. However, it is quite the opposite, although the pain may have disappeared, this is because the pulp has died and the infection has spread to the root canal system.
You may experience the following symptoms after the death of your pulp:
- The return of pain when biting or chewing
- Swollen gums near the affected area
- Puss and blood present in the affected area
- Cheeks swelling
- The affected tooth changes to a dark colour
If you experience any toothache after your initial pain has subsided, it may be that the infection has eliminated your pulp and the infection has spread to your root canal system. Neglecting to treat your tooth at this stage is very dangerous and may lead to severe discomfort and even tooth loss.
Dental intervention is the only approved course of treatment, antibiotics will not be able to right the infection and painkillers will only numb the pain temporarily. Early treatment will greatly increase the chances of successful treatment.
What happens in root canal treatment?
Root canal treatments focus on targeting and removing infections found at the centre of your tooth.
Your teeth are made up of two core parts, or sections; the root, which is hidden within your gum line and extends to the bottom of your jaw bone, and the crown, the visible top part of the tooth. Depending on the severity of the infected tooth, you may require one or two root canal treatments (a tooth can have more than one root canal).
There are two ways we remove the infection:
- By removing the infection from the affected tooth (root canal treatment)
- Or by removing and replacing the tooth itself.
We will always work to try and save the infected tooth, as having more of your natural teeth is always advisable. Once the tooth has been saved, the area where the infection was living is filled and sealed using a filling or crown.
How long does root canal treatment take?
The average treatment time for a standard root canal takes between 60 – 90 minutes and patients either one or two treatments depending on the severity of the infection. You will be able to leave the same day but you will need someone to pick you up and transport you home.
How long does it take for a root canal to heal?
The healing process after undergoing a root canal is often fast, and the affected area of the tooth will naturally heal as time passes. Patients report that any remaining pain from the treatment subsides within a few days and over-the-counter painkillers are all that is required to help make the healing process more comfortable.
If you are still experiencing pain weeks after your treatment, please contact our team immediately, it may be that you require a follow-up treatment.
Does root canal treatment hurt?
Thanks to the advancements of dental care, you should not experience and severe discomfort. We will administer a numbing agent to ensure your treatment is as comfortable as possible and our team will be on-hand to make your experience easier during any point of your procedure.
The American Association of Endodontists claim that the majority of patients experiencing little to no discomfort during the treatment process. This is because the affected area is numbed before treatment begins, but you can expect some minor discomfort a few days after the treatment. This is completely normal and can be treated using over-the-counter pain medication.
How effective is root canal treatment?
Root canal treatments are among the most effective ways to eliminate tooth infections. The success rate of root canal treatments is approximately 95%.
Can you have root canal treatment twice?
You may be eligible for a secondary root canal treatment as some teeth have two roots. We will be able to advise on whether you will require one or two root canal treatments during your consultation.
Does the NHS Cover Root Canal Treatment?
According to the NHS, root canal treatments are available on the NHS (Band 2, £62.10).
Our Root Canal Treatments at Hove Dental Clinic
Hove Dental have recently purchased a (global) dental operating microscope in order to further enhance treatment success rates. For more information on our root canal treatments and any other treatment options, please do not hesitate to call or email today.
We specialise in dealing with nervous patients, so please let us know if there is anything we can do to make your short stay with us more comfortable.