Root Canal Therapy

Root Canal Therapy

Root canal treatment (also called Endodontics) is needed when the pulp inside your tooth becomes infected through tooth decay or damaged by an injury to your mouth. This infection may spread through the root canal system, which could eventually lead to an abscess, causing a great deal of discomfort.

The infection is caused by bacteria that live in the mouth and invade the tooth. This can happen after several things, including tooth decay, leaky fillings and trauma to the teeth like a fall or other accident.

Tooth structure

A tooth is made up of two parts. The crown is the part of the tooth that's visible in the mouth. The root extends into the bone of the jaw, anchoring the tooth in position.

The root canal system contains the dental pulp and extends from the crown of the tooth to the end of the root. A single tooth can have more than one root canal.

Infection

The pulp is made up of soft tissue that includes nerves and blood vessels. The pulp will begin to die if it's infected by bacteria. Bacteria can then multiply and spread.

The bacteria and the substances they release will eventually pass out of the end of the root canal through the small hole where the blood vessels and nerves enter.

This process will continue because there's nothing to stop more bacteria passing down the root canal, which causes the tissues around the end of the tooth to become red and swollen. This can make your tooth painful and, in extreme cases, your face may become swollen (known as a dental abscess).

 

The procedure

To treat the infection in the root canal, the bacteria need to be removed. This can be done by either extracting the tooth or or removing the bacteria from the root canal system.After the bacteria have been removed, the root canal will be filled and the tooth sealed with a filling or crown. In most cases, the inflamed tissue at the end of the tooth will heal naturally.

Before having root canal treatment, you will usually be given a local anaesthetic. This means the procedure shouldn't be painful, and should be no more unpleasant than having a filling.

 

Root canal treatment is usually successful. In about 9 out of 10 cases, a tooth can survive for up to 10 years after root canal treatment.

Aftercare

It's important to look after your teeth when recovering from root canal treatment.

Avoid biting on hard foods until all of your treatment is complete.

In most cases, it's possible to prevent the need for further root canal treatment by maintaining good, consistent oral hygiene, not consuming too much sugary food and drink and long term, by quitting smoking if applicable.


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