Root canal treatments

Root canal treatments

Root canal treatment is a form of restorative dentistry and your dentist may suggest it if there is inflammation or infection inside one of your teeth leading to immense pain. Under suitable conditions, Root canal treatment can save your tooth from having to be taken out.

Why might I need root canal treatment?

If your tooth is damaged, bacteria can get inside the root canal which contains pulp (nerve/ blood vessels supplying life to a tooth) causing pain and swelling. Root canal treatment may be needed in the following situations to prevent your tooth from being taken out by removing the damaged pulp and treating the infection- 

  • Deep tooth decay
  • A cracked tooth 
  • Advanced gum disease 
  • Trauma, such as a blow to your mouth

If an infection is not treated, it can spread further and cause a dental abscess, which is a collection of pus and can cause swelling around your tooth and jaw.Sometimes your tooth may look darker in colour than your other teeth, which means that the nerve inside your tooth is dead or dying. Without treatment, the infection may spread further into your jawbone and you may need to have your tooth removed.

What does root canal treatment involve?

Here at Martock Dental Practice, we pride ourselves to be able to offer Root Canal Treatments to our patients in a relaxing and calming atmosphere with state-of-the-art instruments to help achieve the best results we can.

Although most root canal treatments can be completed in one appointment, sometimes it may need two or more appointments in particularly stubborn infections. The procedure is done under local anaesthetic; the tooth is isolated using a rubber sheet called a dental dam which keeps the tooth from contamination and protected from cleaning agents. The tooth is carefully cleaned using specialized instruments and disinfectant solutions.

It is normal for the tooth/ area to feel bruised after treatment, more so on day 3-5 post procedure. However, this can be managed well using over the counter pain medication such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen- however your dentist will give you plenty of advice for at home care.

If your tooth is badly worn or is at risk of further damage, your dentist may suggest having a crown fitted. This is an artificial cap that fits over your tooth. 


Q: What is the goal of restorative dentistry?

Ans: The aim of Restorative dentistry is to restore and maintain teeth to their former glory if they have broken down and decayed. However, this is only possible if there is sufficient amount of your own tooth structure left in the first place, a bit like the need to have good foundations for building a home. When we look at a broken down tooth we take a holistic approach and see what the situation is with the rest of your teeth and gums and be considerate about aesthetics too.

Q: How long does tooth restorations last?

Ans: Traditional silver amalgam fillings can last for more than 15 years. These days white composite fillings can last for more than 10 years too. Gold/ metal and ceramic can last for 15 years or more. However with regular wear and tear these do wear down and will need to be replaced. The longevity of any Restorative dentistry is dependent on several factors such as good oral hygiene and a well balanced diet; we will advise you on the ways to keep up with a good routine.

Q: Does Root Canal Treatment hurt ?

Ans: This is a common misconception that Restorative dentistry including procedures such as root canal treatments hurt. We take every measure to minimize this and give you plenty of local anesthetic. In the rare occasion that the tooth is hyperinflated then local anesthesia may not work effectively, in which case, the dentist would put a special dressing into the tooth, hopefully by the next appointment the tooth would have much calmed down. Taking a painkiller such as Ibuprofen an hour before your appointment can also help. If you find that you always have needed extra local anesthetic, please let us know as we are all different and some people will indeed need more of it! As they are such lengthy procedures, most of our patients drift off into sleep!/p>

Q: Can I eat after root canal treatment?

Ans: Yes, of course you can ! We make sure that adequate home care advice and precautions are given after restorative dentistry procedures especially ones like Rot Canal treatments. If the tooth has been filled with a white/ composite permanent filling then you can eat straight away. Silver fillings take longer to set so we ask to avoid hard/ sticky foods on the side that treatment has been done for the first 24 hours. Other temporary dressings may take a couple of hours to set after which you would be ready to eat soft- semi- hard foods.