Root canal treatment (also known as endodontic treatment) is the procedure carried out to save a tooth from extraction.

This is necessary when a tooth is seriously infected or when the nerve contents inside the tooth has been damaged as a result of injury, tooth decay or advanced gum disease.

It is a safe and effective procedure designed to eliminate bacteria from the infected roots of teeth.

What causes the tooth to get into this state?

The inside of a tooth can become infected when bacteria gets in through damaged or weakened enamel caused by injury, decay or gum disease or when an existing restoration such as filling or crown becomes loose.

Sometimes, pain and swelling might be the first indication that a tooth is infected but often it can go undetected because the nerves in damaged teeth can die slowly, desensitising it over time.

If left untreated, the tooth can become discoloured or the root could die. This is why a regular dental check-up is an important step in spotting such problems early.

What you can expect from root canal treatment?

Your dentist will examine the tooth in question, which may not have presented any symptoms. In many cases mild sensitivity or even ‘silent infections’ may indicates the need for a root canal. This is why general check-ups are so important, so a tooth does not progress to this level of damage can be spotted at the earliest opportunity.

During root canal treatment, the top of the infected tooth is removed so that the dentist can access the internal infection. Extremely fine instruments are then used under magnification and protective rubber sheet to intricately remove the infected nerve remnants and a disinfectant is applied to clear out further bacteria.

Once the treatment is over, a crown is usually needed to protect the already weakened tooth from further fracture

The benefits of root canal treatment:

  • Save a tooth from extraction and delay the need for a bridge, denture or implant.
  • Protect neighbouring teeth from the risk of infection.
  • Contrary to the scare stories – this procedure should be completely painless when local anaesthesia is given effectively. Some mild post operative discomfort is expected.

Meet your specialist

DR VINAY SHAH

Specialist in Endodontics

Vinay graduated from King’s College London in 2012. After completing his dental foundation training in Leicester, he furthered his experience with Dental Core Training (DCT) posts in Oral and Maxillofacial surgery. He obtained Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 2014.
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