Root Canal Treatment

What is Root Treatment?

Root canal treatment is a process whereby the nerve chamber of the tooth is cleaned out and sealed with medication. 

Why would I need a root treatment?

When a tooth becomes decayed or damaged the nerve inside the tooth may become inflamed and painful or may die and eventually lead to an infection on the end of the root.  This may result in a painful abscess and swelling of the face.

Root treatment is designed to clear this infection.

What is involved in Root Treatment?

Root treatment is usually undertaken under local anaesthetic.  First an access cavity is made into the nerve chamber and special files are used to clean out the root canal system.  The root canal system is usually then filled with a rubber material coated in antibacterial medicament and then sealed.  An oral antibiotic may also be used to assist in clearing any infection.  Root canal treatment usually takes 2-3 visits.

Is Root Canal Treatment painful?

The vast majority of root canal treatments are pain free.  However a small proportion may be uncomfortable due to the inflammation of the nerve.  When the nerve is removed the discomfort should subside.

Does Root Canal Treatment always work?

Root Canal Treatment is a complex procedure and as such unfortunately root canal treatment does not always work.  This could be due to a number of factors including the difficulty of the root canal system, difficulty of accessing the tooth and the amount of infection amongst other reasons.

What happens if it doesn’t work?

If the root canal treatment does not work there are a number of options:

  1. A re-root treatment.  This option involves repeating the root canal treatment.  If the initial root treatment has not worked then the success rate for re-root treatments do drop.
  2. Apicectomy.  This involves a surgical procedure where the end of the root and associated infection is removed.  This is a complex procedure and the success rate is around 60%
  3. Extraction.  If a root treatment fails the tooth may need to be extracted.  It may be possible to replace the tooth with a bridge or an implant.

Once I have had my root treatment what happens next?

Once the root treatment has been completed, the tooth usually requires a crown to enhance the strength of the tooth.