What is a root canal filling?
Has your dentist told you that you need root canal treatment? Root canal treatment is a dental procedure used to treat infection and swelling by removing the nerve, blood supply and bacteria at the centre of a tooth. Root canals may be carried out by your general dentist or an endodontist.
The infection is caused by bacteria that live in the mouth and invade the tooth. This can happen after:
Root canals have been give a bad reputation in the past! However, nowadays modern endodontic treatment is very similar to having a filling and usually can be completed in one or two appointments, depending on the condition of your tooth and your personal circumstances. At our dental clinic you can expect to be made comfortable throughout your treatment in the chair. After you appointment we will run through aftercare advice and answer any further questions you may have.
Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment allows:
- Efficient chewing
- Normal biting force and sensation
- Natural appearance
- Protects other teeth from excessive wear or strain
what causes a tooth to need a root canal?
The pulp is made up of soft tissue that includes nerves and blood vessels. The pulp will begin to die if it's infected by bacteria. Bacteria can then multiply and spread, leading to infection that requires either root canal (to save the tooth) or extraction (to remove the tooth leaving).
The bacteria and the substrates ultimately pass out through the end of the root canal through the apex which may lead to pain and tenderness to bite on the offending tooth.
This process will continue because there's nothing to stop more bacteria passing down the root canal, which causes the tissues around the end of the tooth to become red and swollen. This can make your tooth painful and, in extreme cases, your face may become swollen (known as a dental abscess).
who does root canal work?
Although root canals are carried out by many general dentists in the UK, it is best to be treated by a dentist with advanced training in the field. At out dental clinics we will carry out more predictable treatments through the use of specialist equipment (Microscope, Cone Beam CT, Digital X-rays, Apex locators and single use rotary NiTi files) that most dental clinics may not have. Because we have trained beyond the basic levels taught at dental schools and carry out the procedure several times a day, we achieve high levels of success.
Due to the complexity of endodontic treatment it is best to have a dentist with advanced training and equipment to carry out this tricky treatment.
Do root canals hurt during the procedure?
Usually we can totally anaesthetise your tooth so that you feel nothing during your root canal treatment. Sometimes it may be difficult to numb the tooth. If this happens we will try a series of alternative techniques to fully anaesthetise your tooth. If this still does not work then we will place a sedative medicine within the tooth to help calm things down and then rebook you for another day.
What are the alternatives to root canal treatment?
I would always have the tooth examined by an endodontist prior to removal to discuss retaining your natural tooth and deliberate dental implant vs endodontic treatments. Once the tooth is removed there is no going back!
If you decided to have the tooth extracted it is important not to delay its removal. Leaving the infected tooth in your mouth may make the situation worse.
If a tooth is beyond saving then we will refer you back to your own dentist. Alternatively if you have booked in directly we would refer you to an Oral Surgeon/Dental Implant Periodontist
When should I have the root canal treatment?
As soon as the tooth becomes treatable and a timely appointment can be scheduled with Dr Reddy. The longer a tooth is left the less chance of success as the infection becomes established.
Can antibiotics cure the infection?
No. Antibiotics are not effective in treating root canal infections completely. They should only be used if there is systemic signs of infection. Our Emergency Dental Service will aim to undertake active treatment to reduce the need for Antibiotics.
Antibiotics can only work by reaching the site of the infection through your blood, this has already been destroyed if a root canal is needed. Therefore, antibiotics cannot remove bacteria for the root canal.
Repeated use of antibiotics to treat endodontic infection leads to bacteria adapting to survive the medication's effects. They become resistant to antibiotics, which means that the antibiotic no longer works.
what is the cost of root canal treatment?
The price of your root canal is dependent of which tooth needs to be treated and the complexity of the case. Straight forward front teeth start from £299 and back molars cost £559. More complicated treatments like retreating molars costs around £599.
We would normally ask that the tooth be crowned by your own dentist once the tooth has settled down. Costs of crowns and other indirect restoration is dependent on your dentists charges.
root canal complications
- Possible complication after root canal can be:
- Fracture of the root or the crown of the tooth
- A post-operative infection
- Failure of an instrument within the canal
- May need retreatment after the first procedure
- The colour of the natural tooth may change over time
- Pain and swelling after the treatment.
At ARCENDO we aim to minimise all the above complications as we are experts in treating root canals. The chance of the above happening are slim due to our experience in root canal treatments.
What is a retreatment of a root canal?
With proper care, root filled teeth may last a lifetime but sometimes a tooth that has been treated may not heal properly and may become painful months or even years after your initial treatment. If your tooth failed to heal or has developed new problems, you have a second chance. Endodontic re-treatment may be able to save your tooth and promote healing. If you are experiencing toothache and discomfort in a previously treated tooth, and wish to save it, book a free consultation.
As occasionally happens with any dental or medical procedure, a tooth may not heal as expected after initial treatment for a variety of reasons:
- Narrow or curved canals were not treated during the initial procedure.
- Complicated canal anatomy went undetected in the first procedure.
- The placement of the crown or other restoration was delayed following the endodontic treatment.
- The restoration did not prevent salivary contamination to the inside of the tooth.
In other cases, a new problem can jeopardise a tooth that was successfully treated. For example:
- New decay can expose the root canal filling material to bacteria, causing a new infection in the tooth.
- A loose, cracked or broken crown or filling can expose the tooth to new infection.
- A tooth sustains a fracture.
During further treatment, we will reopen your tooth and remove the filling materials that were placed in the root canals during the first procedure. We then carefully examine the tooth, looking for additional canals or new infection. Our aim is to remove infection, clean and shape the canals, and places new filling material. The opening is then sealed with a temporary filling. Once the tooth heals, a new crown or other restoration is placed on the tooth to protect it.
root canal retreatment success rate?
In initial root canal treatments we hope to achieve between 90% - 95% success. In retreatment cases this figure may drops due to clinical complications from the previous treatment. This can cause overall success rate in retreatment it fall to 75% - 80%. Each tooth is different and the complexities it may bring can impacted on the tooth's final outcome. We will always inform you of all the potential problems your case may hold and what information we have before starting the case.
How would I know if I need a root canal?
Root canal treatment is only required when it's clear that the soft tissue at the centre of the tooth, called the pulp, has been damaged by a bacterial infection.
What are the symptoms of a pulp infection?
- Pain when eating or drinking hot or cold food and drink
- Pain when biting or chewing
- A loose tooth
As the infection progresses, these symptoms often disappear as the pulp dies. Your tooth then appears to have healed, but the infection has in fact spread through the root canal system. Further symptoms eventually occur, such as:
- Pain when biting or chewing
- Swelling of the gum near the affected tooth
- Pus oozing from the tooth or close to the tooth
- Facial swelling
- The tooth becomes dark
It's important to see your dentist if you develop toothache.
What can I expect from root canal therapy?
Our aim is to shape the root canal prior to remove bacteria from the space. We do this with the aid of super elastic NiTi files.
After cleaning the root canal we will fill the system and place a seal to prevent the ingress of further bacteria. In most cases, the inflamed tissue at the end of the tooth will heal naturally.
Before your root canal treatment, you will usually be given a local anaesthetic. This will numb the tooth at which time we will be able to proceed with treatment. You should view the treatment as similar to having a simple filling.
We hope to achieve success rates between 80 percent to 95 percent. This success is dependent on the complexity of every individual case.
What should I avoid before root canal treatment?
- Hot or cold food and drink if this makes the pain worse
- Try to eating on the opposite side of your mouth
- Continue to brush but gently around the offending area and temporarily avoid flossing around the tooth
What medication(s) can I take for toothache pain?
Ibuprofen is the best painkiller for before and after root canal treatment. It is also aids toothache relief for a dental abscess. If you're unable to take ibuprofen for medical reasons, you can take paracetamol but, again, please bear in mind your own personal suitability.
If the ibuprofen and paracetamol are not helping relieve your pain then contact your dentist or book an appointment at one of our dental clinics in London, Birmingham or Kent.
Some patients have tried clove oil, which has analgesic and antibacterial properties, to help with toothache. We do not advocate its use as we feel it does not penetrate deep enough to resolved the fundamental cause of any pain.
what is an endodontist treatment?
Endodontist are dentists who have developed extra skills in saving your teeth after the tooth has been damaged and begins to cause you problems. Endodontists have specialists skills and equipment that increases the success of root canal treatments. Endodontist also get referred complex cases that general dentist do not feel comfortable in dealing with.
GDC registered endodontists should have undergone a minimum of three years advanced endodontic training usually in a dental hospital. Some specialist endodontist have only 1 year post graduate training and were admitted to the registry on it's conception in 1999.
How long is a root canal procedure?
Root canals are all different and this is reflected through the amount of time needed for the procedure. In many cases at ARCENDO we are able to complete cases in one and a half hours. However, if more time is needed for more complex cases we will reappoint patients for a second visit to complete the treatment.