Treatment Guides

Root canal treatment

Root canal treatment is the procedure used to repair a tooth that has become seriously infected or decayed. While not always successful, the procedure not only saves teeth but also prevents subsequent infections in the future.

quick details
WHO IS THIS FOR
  • People with a serious tooth infection.
  • People who experience multiple infections in the same tooth.
  • People with a serious gum infection.
RECOVERY TIME
  • Most patients can return to normal eating and cleaning habits immediately after the final treatment session.
  • A little residual pain affects a small percentage of patients for a few days after treatment.
  • Recovery can be complicated by structural damage to the tooth or the jaw.
  • Infections can return, but further root canal treatments are possible.
TREATMENT DURATION
  • Most root canal treatments take place over two or three appointments.
  • Each appointment can last anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes.
SUCCESS
  • Studies have shown that around 90% of root canals save the offending tooth for a minimum of eight years.
  • Tooth survival rates are significantly increased when a crown is attached.
  • Success rates and the life of a treated tooth significantly increase when the patient adheres to strict oral hygiene practices.
  • The chances of success depend on how much of the tooth remains. A lot of treated teeth last a lifetime.
POTENTIAL RISKS & SIDE EFFECTS
  • Inflammation of the surrounding tissues.
  • Residual pain.
  • Darkening of the treated tooth.
  • Fracturing of the tooth.
  • An extraction may be needed if the treatment is unsuccessful.
  • An extraction may be needed if the treatment is unsuccessful.
HOW DOES IT WORK?

What is root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment is a procedure designed to remove infected tissue from inside a tooth and the surrounding tissues. The treatment is administered within the inner passages of the tooth - between the pulp and the roots. A dentist may need to remove tissue from the surrounding areas. Most root canals result in the removal of the nerve and the pulp. This will usually stop the pain in your tooth but not necessarily in the infected areas around it. There are several reasons why you might need a root canal. The most common is decay caused by poor dental hygiene practices. Other potential causes include cracks or chips and disease. The need for a root canal treatment is usually quite obvious. The main symptom is chronic pain, which is usually worsened by eating, pressure and changes in temperature. Other signs you might need the procedure include a small bump in your gum, tenderness, swelling and darkening of the tooth.

How does root canal treatment work?

Root canal treatments usually take place in stages. The pulp and the nerve are removed in one session. A second session is usually devoted to sealing the cavity to prevent further infections.

1. Diagnosis

In order to diagnose the problem, your dentist will need to take an x-ray. This will determine how bad the infection is and whether an extraction will be required. Qunomedical can help you with your diagnosis: simply email us your x-rays and we will connect you with one of our partner dental clinics.

2. Anaesthetic

The first stage of the actual procedure involves the numbing of the tooth and the surrounding gum. You may need up to three separate injections to ensure you don't feel pain during treatment. The dentist will also place a rubber sheet around your tooth to keep it dry.

3. Drilling

The next stage of the procedure involves the dentist gaining access to the inner structures of your tooth. Unfortunately, this involves drilling a small hole.

4. Removal

The dentist uses a set of specialist tools to remove the nerve and pulp via the drilled hole. Once the infection has been completely removed, the dentist will give you a temporary filling. In many cases, a customised crown is prepared afterwards. The filling usually consists of a rubber compound (which fills the cavity), and a standard filling agent.

5. The final stage

The final stage of a root canal treatment is usually the application of a permanent crown, filling or restorative agent. If there's still some infected material in your tooth, you may need a third appointment. This is because your dentist will leave the tooth open to allow for more drainage.

6. Ongoing care

A lot of people never experience any issues with their treated tooth again. But not all procedures are successful. If treatment on the same tooth fails twice, your dentist may talk to you about alternatives. You might be advised to have the tooth removed - particularly if your infections have been severe. Of course, no one wants a gaping hole where a tooth once sat. Among the options available to you include the fitting of an implant, a dental bridge or a partial denture. Your dentist will talk you through the basic dental hygiene practices that should prevent future problems.

Are there different types of root canal treatment?

While there may be some small differences in the treatments offered by different dentists, the main principles of the procedure remain the same. It's not always necessary to remove the nerve, but this is something your dentist will discuss with you before the procedure. If the first root canal treatment isn't successful, you might require retreatment. This procedure involves the removal of the crown or filling as well as the packing of material within the tooth. All the canals are cleaned again, and a new crown or filling is administered. If the canals within your tooth are blocked - or particularly narrow - your dentist might decide to perform endodontic surgery. This involves a small incision to allow for the sealing of the opposite end of the root.

What should I expect?

While a degree of pain is likely - either during or after the procedure - many patients don't experience any significant pain. Of course, many people are nervous about such an invasive procedure. Try to remain calm and still. You're likely to experience some strange sensations and a lot of vibration, but this is normal. Root canal treatments are now routine for dentists. Expect up to three sessions, but more may be required if there are complications.

WHERE CAN I FIND A DOCTOR?
Qunomedical Health Managers have an all-round knowledge to find the right specialist for you. Learn more about Qunomedical.