If you have a badly damaged or infected tooth, your dentist may recommend root canal treatment to save the natural tooth. Thanks to advances in modern dentistry, this procedure is simple and often painless – in fact it’s very similar to a routine filling.
How do I know if I need root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment (also known as endodontic treatment) eliminates infections caused by bacteria from the mouth, which have invaded the dental nerve (pulp tissue) at the centre of the tooth. This infection can be very painful, but occasionally happens slowly over time and is first detected on a routine X-ray. Consult your dentist if:
- You have a rapid increase in sensitivity to temperature followed by an intense spreading pain.
- You are unable to put pressure on the tooth.
- You notice discolouration or darkening of the tooth.
- Your surrounding gums are swollen and tender.
What happens during root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment involves removing any infected pulp (soft, thread-like tissue) and bacteria at the centre of your tooth under local anaesthetic, thoroughly cleaning the affected area, and filling and sealing the remaining space. This intricate procedure involves specialist equipment and cleaning solutions, and depending on the situation, may take place over one or two appointments. At Exeter Advanced Dentistry, Dr. Daniel Zillwood, who has an MSc in Endodontics and receives referrals from as far as Cornwall, Somerset, and Dorset, performs our root canal treatments.
Advantages of root canal treatment
- Your dentist will be able to save your natural tooth, retaining your normal appearance.
- You will be able to bite normally and chew effectively.
- Your other teeth will be protected from excessive wear or strain.
What happens if I don’t get root canal treatment?
If a tooth infection is left untreated, pus can build up at the tip of the root and form an abscess. This can be extremely painful and may destroy the bone surrounding the tooth. Once the pulp of the tooth has become irreversibly damaged, a root canal is the only option if you want to keep your tooth – the only alternative is to extract the tooth.
How long does root canal treatment last?
The success rates for root canal treatments are generally between 85-95%. Root-treated teeth molar teeth (back teeth) are a little more prone to fracture and so you may need a crown to provide extra support and strength to your tooth after your root canal treatment. With proper care and diligent oral hygiene, a well restored root filled tooth can last a lifetime.
If you think you may need root canal treatment, or would like to discuss a possible problematic tooth, contact one of our team members at Exeter Advanced Dentistry today. We will be happy to make you an appointment.