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Root Canal Treatment

 If a tooth is decayed or has had repeated dental treatment or fractures, bacteria can enter the root canal and cause the pulp to become infected or inflamed. Not only will an infected nerve cause pain, it may lead to the formation of a painful abscess and ultimately cause the tooth to die and be lost.

Root canal treatment aims to prevent or eliminate disease within the tooth and surrounding bone by cleaning and disinfecting the root canals using files and antibacterial irrigation.

The procedure is carried out in one or two sessions lasting between one and two hours under local anaesthetic and is painless, although patients may suffer some sensitivity afterwards, which will settle down in 12 to 24 hours and can be relieved by painkillers.

The need for further treatment such as periapical surgery, where the tissue around the tip of the root is cleaned or removed, can only be identified when the tooth is opened up – for instance a tooth may have a hairline crack but unless the tooth is opened it is not possible to know the extent of the crack or whether root canal treatment alone is feasible or not.

After root canal treatment has been carried out, the tooth is weakened and more susceptible to fracture and the endodontist will therefore refer the patient to a prosthodontist at Harley Street Dental and Implant Clinic to restore the tooth immediately. Placement of a crown is recommended on back teeth as it covers the whole tooth, preventing it from splitting.

As with any medical procedure, root canal treatment may occasionally fail and studies have shown a success rate of approximately 90 per cent, with a four per cent chance of developing a mild abscess after treatment.

Failure may be due to a number of reasons, most commonly the presence of bacteria in the root canals because the bacteria were inaccessible despite proper disinfection of the canals. Other reasons why the treatment may fail include the presence of accessory root canal anatomy such as extra canals, further fractures in the tooth after treatment, leaking of the filling or crown due to decay, bacteria on the outer aspect of the roots and the formation of cysts.

Wherever treatment does fail, once the cause has been established the viability of re-root canal treatment or periapical surgery will be discussed with the patient, both of which are carried out at Harley Street Dental and Implant Clinic by endodontists with the aim of saving teeth and preventing pain.

If you are experiencing deep dental pain, arrange an appointment with an endodontist at Harley Street Dental and Implant Clinic.