Root Canal Treatment (Endodontics)
What is Root Canal Treatment?
A root holds the tooth in place. Front teeth usually have one root and teeth further back have more roots. The core of each tooth contains soft tissue called pulp which contains nerves and a blood supply, extending into the root(s) through the root canal. Pulp can be destroyed by tooth decay or injury and will then lack a blood supply, becoming more prone to infection and leading to toothache and abscess.
When might treatment be needed?
Root Canal Treatment (RCT) is needed when the pulp is infected through decay or injury. If the pulp becomes infected, the infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth. This may eventually lead to an abscess. If RCT is not carried out, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be extracted or taken out. RCT involves removing damaged or dead pulp and filling the root canal. The remaining tooth can then be restored. Root filled teeth can become darker than the other teeth, but your dentist will discuss treatment options for this with you.
Is RCT available under NHS arrangement?
You can have RCT under NHS dentistry treatments. However, due to the time it takes and the modern techniques available, it may be necessary to provide the treatment as private dental treatment. Your dentist will be pleased to give you an estimate of costs. At Magee Dental Care our dentists use up to date techniques and equipment such as digital radiographs (x-rays) and rotary endodontic nickel titanium files.
- At your first appointment, the infected pulp is removed and the abscess drained. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle
- At your next visit the root canal is cleaned and shaped and the tooth is permanently filled.
- Toothache experienced from pulp damage will usually stop quickly when the root canal has been treated.
- A tooth with dead pulp would probably eventually have to be extracted (removed) and the possibility of infection spreading beyond the tooth itself has to be considered. RCT treatment will reduce this risk.
- Root fillings are usually successful and can last for many years. However retreatment can be necessary if infection re-occurs.