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What is endodontic treatment and when would you need it?

If you’ve ever been at the dentist and overheard the term ‘endodontic treatment’ and wondered what it was, we’re here to explain this process in full and examine some instances where it could be necessary. It’s actually a very common treatment, and of course we make all our treatments as painless as possible so you have nothing to fear if you have an appointment booked to have this treatment yourself.

Simply put, endodontic treatment is a painless root canal treatment. It is necessary when the nerve in tooth or the dental pulp is diseased or injured, and is performed by your dentist in order to repair the tooth and provide pain relief to the patient. If not carried out, the patient may end up losing the tooth by having to undergo an extraction.

What can lead to a root canal treatment?

When a tooth requires a root canal treatment, it could be as a result of decay (having poor oral hygiene or a predisposition to decay due to genetics), repeated dental procedures on the tooth (for example if you have had it filled and refilled before) or due to a crack or chip in the tooth as a result of an accident or injury. These instances lead to an infection in the soft tissue inside the tooth, which is why you need this treatment.

What are the signs a tooth needs a root canal?

Explaining your symptoms to the dentist can help identify if you need a root canal. If you have pain, try to be specific about location of the pain, when it starts (for example after heating or drinking hot and cold foods), the duration of the pain, and whether you’ve noticed any swelling. Your dentist will also perform some additional checks – looking for things like changes to the colour of your tooth, abscesses, and visible evidence of infection and in some cases an x-ray will be needed to confirm a diagnosis.

What happens during a root canal?

During a root canal, the damaged or dead nerve tissue will be cleaned out to completely remove any lingering bacteria which is causing the infection. The tooth will then be prepared so that it can be filled with a permanent material called gutta-percha, which is a natural type of rubber. If necessary, a post may be added to provide additional support. The tooth is then sealed, and a new crown is added to the rebuilt tooth to ensure the aesthetic qualities are maintained. You will receive pain relief before this treatment starts so you won’t feel anything during the process.

Can a root canal treatment fail?

Endodontic treatments normally have a great success rate, however some patients may require further treatment if the bacteria has not been fully eradicated. There are also different levels of complexity when it comes to repairing a tooth this way – a back tooth could have three or four roots, which can make treatment more difficult. In some cases, the tooth may be too compromised before treatment even starts, and in this case it would not be possible to repair it, and other long term solutions can be evaluated instead.

At Docklands Dental, our endodontic treatments are state of the art, thanks to our modern technology, digital x-rays and special anaesthetics to increase patient comfort. We have a specialist in root canal / Endodontist, which most practices don’t have. Our specialist performs this treatment under a microscope, giving a high success rate for even the most complex cases and ensuring the highest standard of patient care. If you still have questions about endodontic treatment, please just ask us – we are here to help.

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