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Root Canal Treatment

The Advantages of Root Canal Treatment

By having Root Canal Treatment you can avoid loosing a tooth. This means that your other teeth are not overloaded, and they do not tip and fall into the space left by the missing tooth. Having one tooth removed often results in damage to other parts of your mouth after a few years. With root canal treatment you can keep your mouth as close as possible to the way nature intended.

Nerve Problems

When a nerve in your tooth dies or becomes irreversibly damaged, it should be removed. The space that the nerve occupied should then be completely filled and sealed up otherwise this cavity becomes infected and an abscess forms. This two or three-stage process is called Root Canal Treatment.

Your Tooth’s Nerve

Your Nerve or pulp fills up the inside hollow part of your tooth. Nerve is soft, rather like tissue under your nails, and it is nourished by blood vessels passing in from the bone at the pointed end of the root. The hollow part of the root that contains the nerve is long and narrow and is called the Root Canal. Hence the name Root Canal Treatment. Front teeth usually have one root, side teeth two, and back teeth three or four roots.

How we perform Root Canal Treatment

The first part of Root Canal Treatment is to remove the nerve of your tooth. Removing the part of the nerve in the crown is relatively easy. To remove the part in the root is more difficult as roots are very thin. Root Canal Treatment becomes progressively more difficult towards the back of your mouth because the teeth are harder to see, they have more roots than at the front, and these roots can be very fine and curved. Your nerve is removed and the root canal enlarged by very fine instruments called Files and Reamers. These instruments are used in gradually larger sizes until the required diameter is reached. Most of these instruments are thinner than a pin. We use a special Depth Sounder or Apex Locator to measure the length of your roots. Occasionally it is necessary to take x-rays for this purpose, but we avoid them wherever possible. We use digital x-rays that reduces the exposure to about 90% from the conventional type of x-rays. When your root canal has been shaped, it is filled with a special plastic filling material called Gutta Percha. 

Pain and Root Canal Treatment

In spite of its reputation Root Canal Treatment is not a painful experience. The second or third part of the procedure where the root canal is filled up can often be done painlessly without anaesthetic.

Success Rate

Root canal treatment is about 90% completely successful on back teeth and about 95% successful on front teeth. Of the few percent that do not respond correctly some are merely a little tender occasionally and a very few need to be removed in spite of having had Root Canal Treatment.

Caps (crowns) and Posts

When your tooth has had Root Canal Treatment it tends to become more brittle than a nor-mal tooth. For this reason we strongly recommend that your tooth be capped and a metal or fibreglass reinforced post placed in its root canal to strengthen it. We sometimes delay capping and posts until a few months after your Root Canal Treatment if we are unsure whether your treatment has been successful.

See also information sheet on Tooth Nerve Troubles