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Root Canal Treatment

What is root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment is a procedure performed to relieve pain and to save teeth; the alternative to this is usually loss of the tooth.

Your teeth have roots anchored in your jaw bones (maxilla and mandible) which contain tiny channels called root canals. In a healthy tooth, these root canals contain pulp tissue (nerve tissue and blood vessels). Occasionally, in teeth with large cavities, cracks, crowns or deep restorations (fillings), infection (bacteria and viruses) can enter the root canals, which can lead to tooth ache and abscesses.

Root canal treatment involves making a small hole in the tooth to gain access to these tiny roots canals. These canals are then enlarged with specially designed instruments and cleaned with disinfectant solutions. Following this, the canals are sealed with a filling material to reduce the risk of reinfection. The hole in the tooth is then filled.

Does root canal treatment work?

Root canal treatment has a very high success rate. Success rates of greater than 85% have been reported in the literature. We have reviewed these comprehensive studies and have looked to incorporate more advanced techniques to enhance our chances of success further.

Does root canal treatment hurt?

Before any treatment is performed the tooth and the surrounding tissues are numbed using local anaesthetic solution. Once this tooth is numb you should not feel any pain. Here at The Endodontic Centre, we apply local anaesthetic using The Wand®, which is a computer-assisted system used to administer local anaesthetic in a painless manner.

Does my tooth require any further treatment following root canal treatment?

When your back teeth (premolars and molars) have had root canal treatment, they are more prone to cracking. For this reason, we would advise that your dentist restore it with a crown or onlay to reduce that risk of tooth fracture.

What is Root Canal Retreatment?

Despite best efforts, root canal treatment is not always successful. You may be referred to us after your tooth has become infected again following root canal treatment by your dentist. When we see you, we will examine your tooth and find the reason as to why your initial treatment failed. We will then appraise all options and decide whether a root canal retreatment is the best option for your tooth.

The aims of root canal retreatment is essentially the same as primary root canal treatment. The difference is that in a retreatment, the previous root canal filling needs to be removed, which can be done with the aid of special solvents. There are certain materials i.e. silver points and certain pastes, which can be more challenging to remove, however, we have the equipment, expertise and experience to manage these cases.

Occasionally, the retreatment may be complicated by the presence of ledges, blockages or fractured files within the canals. Again, we have the practice, knowledge and tools to manage these cases. In the majority of these cases, the obstructions may be removed or bypassed, but in some cases it may not be possible. These scenarios do not mean that the retreatment is doomed for failure. We will discuss the implications with you and devise the best plan to manage your tooth.

What is an Apicectomy?

An apicectomy is a small operation that can be performed to try and save a tooth where root canal treatment and retreatment has failed. Root canal treatment usually fails due to infection residing in parts of the root canal where it is sheltered from the cleaning procedures within the canals. These inaccessible areas are usually within the ends of the roots. So, in the apicectomy procedure, we gain access to the end your roots by reflecting the gum tissues and then we would remove the infected tip. The procedure is very safe and has very good success rates. This option may not be suitable for every tooth; we would make a careful assessment to ensure it is the right option for you.

What if I have a post in my tooth?

Your tooth may contain a post made of metal or a special type of fibre. This would have been placed in your root canal to help hold a crown if the tooth was lacking sufficient structure. These posts are placed in your root canals following root canal treatment. However, if the root canal treatment fails then the presence of the post may make root canal retreatment more difficult. We can remove these posts using different procedures; and then root canal retreatment can be performed to clear the infection. In some cases, it may be decided that the post should not or cannot be removed. In these cases we could consider the apicectomy procedure. This is a decision we would take after appraising all options and discussing them with you.

We are Root Canal Specialists