Root canal treatment is a means of saving a tooth that may be damaged by decay, fracture or infection. The purpose of the treatment is to restore the tooth and surrounding tissues to health, relieving both pain and infection, as opposed to total tooth removal. Most root canal treatments can be undertaken by a General Dentist but some are particularly complex. These are often referred to a dentist with a special interest in endodontics who employs techniques, equipment and skills that are able to improve the chances of success.
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. An abscess is an inflamed area in which pus collects and cause swelling of the tissues around the tooth. The symptoms of an abscess can range from a dull ache to severe pain, and the tooth may be tender when you bite. If root canal treatment is not done, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be taken out.
Does it hurt?
No. Usually, a local anaesthetic is used and it should feel no different to having an ordinary filling done. There may be some tenderness afterwards but this should gradually subside over time.
What does it involve?
The aim of the treatment is to remove all of the 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 2 or more visits to your Dentist, although a specialist may complete the procedure in 1 visit.
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