1. Root Canal Treatment..what is it?

    1st March 2010 by thecourtyardclinic

    Root canal treatment is also known as a root filling or an RCT or endodontic treatment….

    If a tooth is infected (an abscess)  or badly damaged by trauma (such as a blow during sport) or damaged by deep decay , a root canal treatment is necessary to deal with the pain and infection and enable the patient to keep the tooth….unless of course the patient decides to have the tooth extracted.

    The tooth is anaesthetised (in a few situations local anaesthitic is not needed), the tooth is then ‘isolated’  and the dentist can then do the treatment over one or two visits.

    Root canal treatment is removing the tissue from the inside of the tooth, cleaning and ‘sterilising’ the inside of the tooth and replacing it with a filling.

    When do I need a root canal treatment?

    If decay is left untreated, it reaches the pulp inside the tooth and damages the pulp tissue (that consists of nerves, blood vessels, lymphatic vessels and other tissues), causing an infection.

    The infection can develop with or without pain. If not treated, an abscess  can form around the root of the tooth in the jawbone causing pain and swelling.

    The abscess can be treated temporarily with antibiotics. But to get rid of the abscess and save the tooth, a root canal treatment is necessary.

    A tooth does not always have to be infected to need a root canal treatment.

    For example, if a tooth is badly broken and not sufficient to put a crown on, a root filling is performed. A post or a screw is placed inside the tooth to form the foundation that is used to put the crown on. This extensive treatment is referred to as a post and crown and usually done when there is no other treatment option…

    Are root canal treatments always successful?

    There is always a risk of the root canal treatment failing and the abscess returning. An abscess can return months or years after a root canal treatment is completed.

    However success rates can be as high as 95% if the treatment is done carefuly and thoroughly, this means longer appointments than say for a routine filling…

    Some reasons for failure are:

    1. Extremely resistant infectious bacteria.
    2. Complicated root canal system in the tooth.
    3. The choice of tools and materials used to perform the root canal treatment.
    4. A poor quality filling on top of the root filling

    Your dentist may decide to perform the root canal treatment or to refer you to a specialist, endodontist if it looks to be particularly difficult.

    Do I need to have a crown after root canal treatment?

    In order to get access to the nerve room inside the tooth during root canal treatment, your dentist has to remove a considerable amount of tooth substance. This can weaken the tooth and make it more vulnerable to pressure if the tooth is rebuilt with conventional filling materials. Therefore your dentist may recommend a crown to be put on top of the rootfilled tooth after the root canal treatment has been completed to protect the tooth from cracking and maintain a good seal over the root filling. 

    Why did my tooth discolour after root canal treatment?

    Some rootfilling materials can discolour teeth. This matters more when the treated teeth are in the front. This may happen within months or years after the root canal treatment. To get rid of the discolouration, the tooth can be  whitened from the inside or a ‘veneer’ of porcelain placed over the front of the tooth..

    In certain cases where the tooth is heavily discoloured, the internal whitening (internal bleaching of teeth) needs to be repeated. If the tooth does not respond to internal whitening, a crown may be the choice of treatment.


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