ROOT CANAL (ENDODONTICS)

Root canal therapy at Clyde Munro

A treatment to save your tooth

Have you been told you need a root canal? The term has historically been associated with a dental worst-case scenario, but don’t be alarmed. Endodontics, or root canal treatment, is now considered as routine as getting a filling – so it’s nothing to fear if your Clyde Munro dentist recommends it for you. If you’re experiencing toothache, swelling, and sensitivity to hot and cold, it may be that the inner soft tissue of your tooth – or dental pulp – has become infected due a trauma or deep decay. Far from causing discomfort, a root canal treatment eliminates the pain, clearing the infection and sealing the inside of your tooth to prevent re-infection. A dental crown is sometimes required to strengthen and reinforce the tooth.

The root canal procedure explained

Root canal treatment is carried out under local anaesthetic and is usually a straightforward procedure, rather like getting a filling. Once the tooth is completely numb, the dentist will use a series of tiny instruments to open up the tooth and extract the infected pulp. The remaining space is cleaned and shaped, ready for filling with a rubbery substance called gutta percha. A temporary filling is usually placed on top – the permanent restoration (sometimes a crown) is completed at a separate appointment.

What is a root canal?

The root of a tooth contains a bundle of soft tissue and nerve endings known as dental pulp. If tooth decay penetrates this far, the dental pulp becomes infected and can cause severe toothache – sometimes even a tooth abscess.

Why would I need root canal treatment?

The causes of tooth infection are varied – deep decay due to cavities or gum disease, cracked fillings or crowns, and damage as a result of trauma, or even teeth grinding. Whatever the reason, a root canal treatment will prevent the need for tooth extraction and future costly treatments.

What are the symptoms?

Root canal symptoms often come in two waves. When the pulp becomes infected, early signs that you might need endodontic treatment include toothache, sensitive teeth to hot and cold foods, and pain when eating and drinking. When the infected pulp dies, these symptoms may temporarily subside – but don’t let that stop you seeing your dentist. When the infection spreads to the root canal, those early symptoms come back – this time accompanied by pain and swelling to the face and gums, and pus around the infected tooth, which will often appear dark in colour. In this scenario, contact us immediately.

Will I need to take time off work for a root canal?

You can carry on as normal once the anaesthetic has worn off, though the full healing period will take around a week – just be careful with what you eat, how you chew and maintain an excellent oral hygiene routine.

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