If your dentist has recently told you that you need root canal treatment, you are not alone. Across the UK each year, millions of teeth are treated and saved with what is called endodontic treatments.
What is Root Canal Treatment?
To understand how a root canal procedure is performed, it will help to know a little about the anatomy of the tooth. Under the white enamel of your tooth is a hard layer called dentin which encloses a smaller amount of soft tissue called the pulp. This pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue and it is from here that the root of your tooth extends down into your jaw. Generally, a developed tooth can survive without the pulp if it is nourished by the surrounding tissue.
The problem is that the pulp can often become inflamed and infected due to things like deep decay or cracks and chips in the tooth. If this pulp inflammation and infection is not treated it can lead to deeper decay and an abscess developing which normally causes quite a lot of pain. Endodontic treatment addresses the infection in the soft pulp and helps maintain the long term health of your tooth.
A general dentist or an endodontist (a specialist in root canal treatment) can perform the procedure.
How is it done?
Root canal treatment general involves the following steps:
- Your dentist will inject a local anaesthetic that will numb your teeth and gums and often your tongue and neighbouring skin. This will help you make comfortable while the treatment is carried out. If you are worried about the pain, the dentist can also administer oral sedation that can help you relax more.
- Your dentist may well use a small protective sheet of rubber on a metal frame to separate the decayed tooth from the rest of your teeth. At this stage the dentist will wash and clean the inside of the tooth out to remove any infected nerve.
- Then a calming medicine is put inside the tooth to help disinfect and eliminate pain.
- During another appointment the dentist will wash and clean the tooth and seal it with a special rubber material.
- When the root canal work is done, a permanent filling or crown will probably be needed. A crown is made by taking an impression of the tooth which is then given to a technician to make a matching copy for the tooth. When this has been made it is cemented in place of the temporary crown to form a more permanent covering.
Root canal treatment can save a tooth that has been inflamed or infected. While the pulp passes on the stimulus of hot and cold sensations, it isn’t actually needed for the tooth to function healthily.
If you live in Putney and think you need a root canal treatment, then you should contact the Alkali Dental Studio team for a dental examination or emergency appointment where we believe that looking after your teeth is the best insurance for a healthy mouth.