Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. Most courses of treatment will involve x-rays and two or more visits to the practice or you may be referred to a local Endodontist who is a specialist in this treatment.
Root canal treatment (also called Endodontics) is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth is infected through decay or injury. You may not feel any pain in the early stages of the infection. In some cases your tooth could darken in colour, which may mean that the nerve of the tooth has died or is dying. This would need root canal treatment.
Why is root canal treatment needed?
When the pulp becomes infected, the infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth. This may eventually lead to an abscess. An abscess is an inflamed area in which pus collects and can cause swelling of the tissues around the tooth. The symptoms of an abscess can range from a dull ache to severe pain, and the tooth may be tender when you bite. If root canal treatment is not done, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be taken out.
What does it involve?
The aim of the treatment is to remove all the infection from the root canal. The root is then cleaned and filled to prevent any further infection.
At the first appointment, the infected pulp is removed and any abscesses can be drained. The root canal is then cleaned and shaped ready for the filling. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle. The tooth is checked at a later visit and when all the infection has cleared, the tooth is permanently filled.
What is a post crown?
In root-filled teeth it may be necessary to insert a post into the tooth root before placing a crown. A post gives support and helps the crown to stay in place. The surface of the tooth may be removed down to the level of the gum.
A post can be made of prefabricated stainless steel which the dentist can fit directly into the root canal. Or a custom-made post can be constructed by a dental technician to accurately fit the shape of the prepared root canal. The post is placed into the root canal and cemented in position, ready for the crown to be attached.
Can a single tooth which has been root filled be whitened?
Yes, sometimes dead teeth change to become discoloured after a root filling. If the tooth has been root treated, the canal (which contained the nerve) may be reopened. The whitening product is applied from the inside to whiten the tooth.