What is root canal treatment?

I have been a dental professional for around 15 years now and I still don’t understand why some people hear the words ‘Root Canal’ and you can see fear in their eyes.

Nope I have never had a root canal treatment, but I been present when many patients have, and they haven’t felt a thing. Some patients actually ask us to extract the tooth rather than root fill it! So here is my take on it and why it isn’t as bad as everyone thinks……..

What is root canal treatment? It is a procedure to remove infection from the root and canal of the tooth. Once all infection has been removed the root and canal is then then cleaned and filled to prevent any further infection.

Who can do this? Root canal treatments is also called endodontics and can be carried out by a dentist or a specialist dentists knows as an endodontist.

How will I know if I need root canal treatment? Root canal treatment is needed when the blood supply or nerve of the tooth is infected, this usually happens through decay or injury. You may not get any pain at all in the early stages of infection. In some cases your dentist may just spot the early signs using an x-ray and suggest a root canal maybe needed, this will then save you from getting pain. You may also find that your tooth may darken in colour – this is also a sign that the nerve in the tooth is dying.

So how come people just shudder at the thought of it? I honestly don’t know. At 360 Dental care we have a specialist endodontist who uses a microscope to make sure all infection is removed from the root canal. We do this in a relaxed environment and you can even watch a movie using our video goggles.

What happens in a root canal appointment?  Root canal treatment is a skilled and time consuming procedure and in some cases can take 2 visits. Firstly the infected nerve is removed and if there has been pain or swelling the abscess can be drained. The root canal is then cleaned, shaped and prepared for filling. At this point the dentist will decide if the tooth needs to be left to settle (in this instance a temporary filling will be placed) , if everything is fine the tooth can be permanently filled.

Many teeth that have root canal treatment are weak and benefit from being strengthen by placing a laboratory made crown or cap.



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