Root Canal Therapy

What is root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment (also called endodontics) is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (known as the pulp) is infected through decay or injury.

root canal
Why is root canal treatment needed?

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 root canal treatment (RCT) is not carried out, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be taken out.

Does it hurt?

No. A local anaesthesia is used and it should feel no different to having an ordinary filling done.

What does it involve?

The aim of the treatment is to remove all infection from the root canal. The root is then cleaned and filled to prevent any further infection. Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. Most courses of treatment will involve two or more visits to your dentist.

At the first appointment, the infected pulp is removed. Any abscesses, which may be present, can also be drained at this time. The root canal is then cleaned and shaped ready for the filling. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle.

The tooth is checked at a later visit and when all the infection has cleared, the tooth is permanently filled.

What will my tooth look like after treatment?

In the past, a root filled tooth would often darken after treatment. However, with modern techniques this does not usually happen. If there is any discolouration, there are several treatments available to restore the natural appearance.

Is the treatment always successful?

Root canal treatment is usually very successful, with an overall success rate of probably about 85%. However, if the infection comes back the treatment can be repeated, although with a reduced success rate.

Can there be any problems after the treatment?

As root treatment is complex and time consuming, demanding longer appointments, you may find that your jaws feel a little tired afterwards. Occasionally you may experience some pain after the treatment, due to the stirring up of the infection associated with the tooth. This usually only lasts for about 48 hours and a mild painkiller should be all that is necessary to ease any discomfort. Should symptoms be longer lasting then we would advise that you contact us. If you should experience such symptoms, the outcome of the treatment is not affected.

Will the tooth need any further treatment?

Yes. It is advisable to restore the tooth with a crown, which will provide additional strength to the tooth. This will avoid possible fractures and the root treatment is less likely to fail, so increasing the longevity of the tooth.

What if I don’t have the treatment?

The alternative is to have the tooth out. Once the pulp is destroyed, it can’t heal and it is not recommended to leave an infected tooth in the mouth. Although some people would prefer an extraction, it is usually best to keep as many natural teeth as possible.

Will the tooth be safe after treatment?

Yes. However, it is better to restore the tooth with a crown to provide extra support and strength to the tooth.

Where can this treatment be carried out?

Root canal treatment is a routine dental procedure, which can be carried out at the Mews dental clinic. If after assessment we feel that the treatment is likely to be complex, we may suggest that treatment by referral to a specialist may be more appropriate.

What about aftercare?

Root-treated teeth should be treated just the same as any other tooth. Remember to clean your teeth at least twice a day, preferably with a fluoride toothpaste. Cut down on sugary snacks, and keep them only to mealtimes if possible. See your dentist for regular check-ups.

Mews Dental Clinic
Station Road, Godalming Surrey GU7 1JE
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