As an endodontic patient, what should I expect?
What is root canal treatment?
Root canal, or endodontic treatment is a dental procedure in which the damaged or diseased nerve or pulp inside a tooth is removed and replaced with a permanent filling material.
Why do I need root canal treatment?
Infected or damaged nerve tissue will often cause a number of symptoms in the tooth, primarily toothache or acute sensitivity. It can also cause pain on biting, or an abscess resulting in swelling of the facial tissues or a blister on the gum beside the tooth. In order to resolve these symptoms, the problem nerve must be removed and the infection must be controlled.
How is root canal treatment carried out?
To gain access to the nerve space of the tooth, a small opening is made in the biting surface (even if it is covered by a crown or a bridge) and, with the aid of a microscope, a series of very fine files are used to locate, debride and clean the root canals in preparation for their sealing with a rubber based material called gutta percha. Treatment is carried out using local anaesthetic to suit the patients' need. A rubber sheet, called rubber dam, is used to isolate the tooth to be treated. It is stretched over a small frame, which sits comfortably on the mouth/chin area. This not only prevents saliva from contaminating the inside of the tooth but also allows the patient to be free from having debris and irrigating solutions in the mouth.
How long does it take?
Although, in very simple cases root canal treatment can be carried out in a single visit, two appointments are usually required for most people. The first visit is usually the longer, about 60-70 minutes of actual treatment, during which time the root canals are located, prepared and left dressed with an anti-bacterial paste until the second visit. This is usually a shorter appointment, when the permanent root filling material is placed and the tooth is sealed with a temporary top dressing, ready for your dentist to place either a new filling or a crown over the biting surface of the tooth.
What are the risks?
The success rate for first time endodontic treatment has been quoted as being in the region of 90%. If prior root canal treatment has failed, remedial treatment to rectify a recurrent infection can be carried out. In these cases, the success rate is obviously reduced to approximately 80%.
What are the alternatives?
Once the nerve of a tooth is infected or damaged, root canal treatment becomes the only means of retaining a tooth. Antibiotics are a short-term solution and will treat the effects of the problem but not the cause. These drugs may mask the symptoms temporarily but the problems will return. However, if the tooth is symptom free, it can be left untreated if preferred, at the risk of future pain and possibly loss of the tooth. The other alternative to root canal treatment is extraction of the tooth in question. This is perfectly feasible, and may be preferable in some cases. The tooth can then be replaced by means of either a denture, bridge or dental implant. Or, the tooth may not be replaced at all. It is advisable that any of these alternatives be discussed with your dentist.
What happens after treatment?
Immediately after treatment, the tooth may feel sore and tender to bite on, as if it is bruised. It is usually recommended that Ibuprofen be used to relieve this, provided you are able to use it. This may continue for a few days, or in some cases, a couple of weeks.
Why choose Cedar Clinic?
Maslinda is a Root Canal Expert. She will operate using a microscope to improve treatment outcome. She has cutting edge 3D X-Ray Imaging for more complex cases.
"I chose the Cedar Clinic for my orthodontic treatment as it was recommended to me by my dentist. The practice was and still is very friendly and as I was a very nervous patient the staff and particularly Sharan Gill, the orthodontist, always very calming and patient with me. I would recommend the Cedar Clinic to anyone – I also had whitening treatment and a wisdom tooth taken out at the practice. Sharan always takes an interest in me. She makes me feel more like a friend than a patient. Keep up the good work."
- Stacey Wood -