What is root canal treatment or therapy?
When a tooth or the surrounding area gets injured or decay has set in, the blood or nerve supply to the tooth can become infected. This is where root canal treatment, also known as endodontics, is needed. Whilst a small infection may not seem important, if left, the infection can quickly spread throughout the root canal system and in time cause pain along with a potential abscess.
The treatment process
With this particular treatment the aim is to remove all of the infection within the root canal in the first appointment. Whilst this does not mean that you will only have one appointment, it does mean that the majority of the infected pulp, if not all, will be removed immediately. During the first appointment with a dentist in Nottingham, along with cleaning out the root canal area, any abscesses which may have formed will be drained. The area is then thoroughly cleaned and prepared for filling. For the first appointment a temporary filling will be put in place around the tooth so that it can be easily removed for the following check-ups. The following appointments will focus on eliminating any further infection, draining further abscesses if any and if all is clear, the area will be permanently filled.
It is important to understand that whilst this may sound like a simple procedure, it actually requires a lot of skill and is rather time consuming which is why it is important to contact your dental team the moment you injure your tooth. In some cases two appointments will be more than enough, but with the more serious infections two or more visits may be required. Your dentist will always advise you on what suits your situation best.
Root canal treatment is, in most cases, extremely successful and therefore the aftercare is the same as your usual oral hygiene process. This means at least one, but preferably two, thorough cleans of the teeth, gums and overall mouth on a daily basis. Fluoride toothpaste is the preferred choice, but use toothpaste, floss and in some cases interdental brushes. These will all help keep your entire mouth healthy. It is also important to have regular check- ups with your dental team to ensure your oral hygiene regime is on top form.
Can you get the infection more than once?
Whilst in most cases the root canal treatment removes all the infection, in some cases it does return or a new infection can form should further damage occur. If this does occur all it means is that you will need further treatment and therefore the whole process will be carried out again.
Choosing to avoid the root canal treatment
In some cases patients prefer to not have the root canal treatment and whilst this is not something we recommend, it is possible to avoid. The alternative treatment for this infection is to have the infected tooth removed. By extracting the tooth the chances of the infection spreading are greatly reduced, however, it is encouraged to keep as many teeth within the mouth as possible especially when there is an safe, alternative solution.
If you think this may be a treatment you need, all patients are encouraged to seek further information and advice from their local dental team.