Notting Hill Dentist
Endodontics Treatment London
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What is endodontic therapy?
Why do I need root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment is undertaken to treat or prevent an infection occurring inside the tooth. Treatment may be required after for the following reasons:
- Extensive decay in a tooth or a deep filling close to the pulp.
- Fractures or cracks within the tooth or leaky filling or crown
- Extensive gum disease and its treatment
- Trauma to the tooth and its complications
- Severe sensitivity
- After previous orthodontic treatment
- Occasionally, a healthy tooth may need root canal treatment to enable a crown to be retained (referred to as ‘elective root canal treatment’)
How does root canal treatment work?
In principle aim of root canal treatment is to remove the infected pulp and the bacteria within the root canal system. By doing so, the number of bacteria in the tooth is reduced and this help your body to heal any infection around your tooth and in the bone holding the tooth.
Why do I need ‘re-root’ canal treatment?
Root canal treatment is not a treatment with a 100% success. Like all treatment’s things can fail. This could be for several reasons including:
- Not all the roots were located
- The root canals were not well cleaned to their full length
- Decay leaking into the root canal system due to a defective filling or crown
- Fracture within the tooth
- Complicated anatomy
- Periodontal disease
- Complications in your previous root canal treatment
This treatment can be more complex due to the previous attempt at root canal therapy.
What is the procedure for root canal treatment and re-root canal treatment?
Step One: Getting your tooth numb and placing a rubber dam.
Numbing your tooth with local anaesthetic will ensure your treatment is pain free. A rubber dam is then placed over your tooth, think of this as an anorak that sits over your tooth. This is particularly important in root canal treatment as it gives us a sterile environment to work in, preventing bacterial leakage into the tooth from your saliva and protects your airway from the fine instrument’s used in your treatment.
Step Two: Remove any old fillings
This allows us to remove any decay and examine how much remaining tooth structure you may have; it may allow us to rebuild the tooth before root canal therapy. If you have a crown, the crown will be removed before placement of the rubber dam, this allows us to see how much tooth structure you have left. If you don’t have a great deal of tooth left, then unfortunately root canal would not be justified as a definitive filling and new crown cannot be made.
Step Three: Cleaning the root canal
This stage is like a deep filling. We access the root canal system, locate the number of roots and begin to disinfect the root canals with antibacterial solutions.
Step Four: Filling the root canals
If all the roots have been located and disinfected, then we fill the root canals with a specific filling. This stage may require a new radiograph to check that all the canals have been cleaned and that we are filling the canals to the right areas.
Step Five: New filling/ Construction of a temporary crown.
In this stage we have finished the root treatment and we are placing a filling on the tooth this prevents any bacteria re-entering the root canal system from the oral cavity. If we removed the crown prior to the treatment at this stage a new temporary crow will be made for you chairside.
Is root canal treatment painful?
This is a question that is always on every patient’s mind. The simple answer is No, root canal treatment is painless. Be re-assured that treatment will not proceed until you are comfortable. Once the local anaesthetic has kicked in the root treatment should be a pleasant and comfortable experience.
How long will the treatment take?
Root canal treatment may need to be carried out over one or two visits. Between appointment an antibacterial medicament is placed inside your root canal and an intermediate restoration.
Cases more likely to require two or more visits include:
- If a large area of infection is visible on a radiograph or discharge of infection from within the tooth.
- Cases where the canals are hard to locate, or have large curves
What are the complications and risks of treatment/retreatments?
- Searching for canals that are very small may result in a hole or ‘Perforation’ within the tooth. If small enough this can be repaired, and the tooth would be savable.
- Some canals are narrow, finding and opening the canals can cause our fine instruments to separate. If this occurs, we will attempt to remove the separated file or bypass it. Unfortunately, sometimes we cant achieve both and the tooth would be reviewed.
- Root canal treatment does weaken the tooth and increases the likelihood of it fracturing. A crown or filling would be required after your root canal treatment to prevent that happening.
- Swelling, bruising and pain may occur in very rare occasions as a result of chemicals used to disinfect the root canal.
- After the appointment, you may have mild discomfort which can be managed with paracetamol and ibuprofen, this can last from 5-7 days and in some cases longer. In a very small number of cases, a post-operative flare up can occur that may require further treatment.
Are all teeth suitable for treatment?
When root treating any tooth, the dentist must ensure that the tooth can be sealed from the oral cavity. Following a consultation, the dentist may inform you that the tooth cannot be saved if, for example, the tooth is badly broken down or has advanced gum (periodontal) disease.
What are the alternatives to root canal treatment and re-root canal treatment?
There are a number of options available other than root canal treatment:
- Do Nothing: This is always an option but you must be aware that the tooth is likely to cause further episodes of pain, swelling or infection.
- Extraction: This is a predictable option which removes and eliminates the source of pain and/or infection. The resultant gap may affect your cosmetic or functional outlook. The space can often be restored with a denture, bridge or implant; the most suitable option is made by assessing each case individually with your dentist.
- Surgical Endodontics: The infected root is surgically removed. The success of this procedure depends on a number of factors, if this is an option your endodontist has recommended, then they will discuss this with you in greater depth.
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BES Patient-Guide (select to download)
Why might you be referred to an endodontist in Notting Hill?
If the inside of your tooth becomes inflamed or infected, then you may be referred to a specialist endodontist.
Inflammation or an infection of the tooth can be caused by tooth decay, damage or a deep fracture and leaky fillings.
Common signs that you may have a pulp infection in your tooth are:
- Intense throbbing pain in the tooth or gum
- Increased sensitivity to hot and cold
- Swollen or tender gums
- A dis-coloured or loose tooth
- Pain when biting or chewing
The root canal system extends from the crown of the tooth through to the root and will contain the dental pulp. If the infection inside your tooth spreads to the root canal system, it can cause an abscess and a buildup of pus which can be painful.
If it is left un-treated, the dental pulp will begin to die, and you may end up losing a tooth. It is important not to ignore symptoms of a dental pulp infection as it becomes more difficult to treat if left.
A specialist endodontist will do everything they can to prevent the tooth from being removed. They will treat the tooth with a thorough clean, treat the infection and seal the tooth to prevent any risk of further infection.
What is the process for root canal treatment at Notting Hill Dental Clinic?
Your endodontist will give you a local anaesthetic so that the tooth and surrounding area are numbed, and you cannot feel anything. Using specialist tools, your endodontist will remove the infected pulp from inside your tooth. You tooth will then be cleaned and shaped using an anti-bacterial solution to prevent further infection.
Your endodontist will refill or restore your canals. This prevents bacteria from re-entering and causing more damage. If the canals are impassable, you may need endodontic surgery.
In the final stage, the root canal filling is sealed using a crown or filling which gives the tooth a normal appearance and enables it to function again.
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