Root canal treatment

Root canal treatment saves teeth that would otherwise have to be extracted.

The crown of the tooth is made up of the hard, white, enamel layer and a thicker dentine layer.  Both these hard layers protect the innermost soft tissues called the pulp.  The dental pulp contains blood vessels and nerves within and extends from the crown to the tips of the root or roots.

Root canal treatment involves the removal of the pulp tissues in the event that it gets infected or inflamed. The pulp can be infected or inflamed due to either deep decay or an extensive restoration that involves the pulp, cracked or fractured tooth due to trauma, excessive wear of enamel and dentine exposing the pulp, and sometimes as a result of severe gum disease. Signs of pulp damage may include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, swelling or tenderness of the overlying gums.  On the other hand, there may be no symptoms at all, but an x-ray or clinical examination will reveal a problem. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can eventually cause pain, swelling and loss of the supporting bone.

Root canal treatment is important because it best to retain all your natural teeth. The aim of the treatment is to remove the infected tissue from the root canal. The treatment is carried out in stages. Firstly, the root canals are disinfected. This is followed by sealing the root with a permanent root filling material. Finally the tooth should be restored to full shape and function by either a permanent white filling or a crown, depending on how much of the tooth is left. This should be done as soon as possible as there could be a risk of tooth fracture due to biting forces.

Root canal treatment procedures are relatively comfortable and often painless as the tooth is anaesthetised during treatment. After treatment, the tooth may be sensitive or tender for a few days due to inflammation of the surrounding tissues. This discomfort can be relieved by taking mild analgesics or painkillers available over the counter at the pharmacy. However, if the pain persists and is severe, or a swelling occurs, you should contact us. 


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Measham Dental staff are registered with the General Dental Council, 37 Wimpole street, London, W1G 8DQ. Sandra Ferreira GDC number 106155. DDS Pernambuco 1996. Company registered in England 08877203.

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Site updated 15/08/2017