What are root fillings?
Root canal treatment or endodontics is a dental procedure which involves removing bacteria inside a severely decayed or fractured tooth and cleaning its root canals.
Each tooth contains pulp, a soft tissue inside with nerve and blood vessels that travel all the way down the root. If a tooth has a leaky filling, tooth decay or damage as a result of trauma, such as a fall then bacteria can enter inside the tooth and infect the soft tissue which then becomes inflamed. This also causes tremendous pain through the nerves.
Root canal treatment is only required when it's clear that the soft tissue at the centre of the tooth, has been damaged by a bacterial infection.
Root canal treatment has a high success rate and its purpose is to eliminate and prevent disease reoccurring inside the tooth. At Freedom Dental we will disinfect and thoroughly clean the canals removing the bacteria within the affected tooth. This is a highly skilled and difficult treatment.
How long will the treatment take?
Each case is individual and some can be very complex, but generally the treatment may take anywhere between one and two hours and you may have to return for a second visit.
Removing the pulp
Your dentist will open your tooth through the crown – the flat part at the top – to access the soft tissue at the centre of the tooth (pulp). Your dentist will then remove any infected pulp that remains.
Cleaning and filling the root canal
After the pulp has been removed, your dentist will clean and enlarge the root canal so it can be easily filled. The root canal is usually very narrow, which makes it difficult to fill.
Your dentist will use a series of small files to enlarge the canals and make them a regular shape so they can be filled. This part of the treatment may take several hours to complete and may need to be carried out over a number of visits.
Your front incisor and canine teeth (biting teeth) usually have a single root containing one root canal. The premolars and back molar teeth (chewing teeth) have two or three roots, each containing either one or two root canals. The more roots a tooth has, the longer the treatment will take to complete.
If the treatment needs to be carried out over several sessions, your dentist may put a small amount of medication in the cleaned canal in between visits to kill any remaining bacteria. The tooth will then be sealed using a temporary filling.
If you have symptoms from the infection, such as a raised temperature or large swelling, you may be given antibiotics to help manage and prevent further infection.
Sealing and fixing the tooth
At your next visit, the temporary filling and medication within the tooth will be removed and the root canal filling will be inserted.
This, along with a filling, will seal the tooth and prevent re-infection.
Root-filled teeth are more likely to break than healthy unrestored teeth, so your dentist may suggest placing a crown on the tooth to protect it.
In some cases, a root-filled tooth may darken, particularly if it has died due to an injury, such as a knock to the tooth. There are several ways your dentist can treat discolouration, such as whitening the tooth using chemicals.
Does it Hurt?
No. Usually, a local anaesthetic is used and it should feel no different to having an ordinary filling done.
What if I don't have the treatment?
The alternative is to have the tooth extracted. Once the pulp is destroyed, it can't heal and it is not recommended to leave an infected tooth in the mouth. Although some people would prefer an extraction, it is usually best to keep as many natural teeth in the mouth as possible.
Root Canal Treatment complications
Owing to the difficulty in this procedure there are several possible complications which are listed below.
- Fracture of the shaping file in the root canal
- Perforation of the root by the shaping file
- Failure to identify and therefore fill hidden canals
- Continued pain and swelling even after the treatment is completed
- Future flare up of infection in the tooth even after the tooth has settled
- Fracture of the tooth
Can I have this treatment on the NHS?
Whilst root canal treatment is available on the NHS you must also be aware that you have the option of being referred to see a specialist in this field for your treatment. Average costs for this are around £700.
You must also be aware that on the NHS we are only funded to use the most basic of root canal treatment equipment and materials and it is for this reason the chance of success is reduced.
Thankfully here at Freedom Dental we have invested in the most advanced equipment and materials for root canal treatment and as such can offer you this treatment privately outside of the NHS.
If you opt for the private treatment we will use the latest anti breakage files together with premium quality root canal sealer.
We are so confident of these new materials that we can give you an over 90% chance of success and will guarantee the work for two years.
The cost for this treatment ranges from £245 to £395 depending on the size of the tooth and your dentist will be able to advise you which cost applies to you.
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