Understanding Root Canal Treatment
Restoring a tooth and avoiding extraction
At the Confidental Clinic in Greenwich, we always endeavour to preserve a natural tooth where possible. Despite excellent replacements, such as dental implants, now being available, it is undoubtedly better to retain your own teeth.
Whilst most people are familiar with some of the more common procedures that we perform in order to achieve this, such as dental fillings or a crown, one procedure which is often misunderstood is root canal treatment.
What is a root canal treatment?
Perhaps it is better to start with what it is not! Despite popular opinion, root canal treatment is not something to be afraid of, and, in fact, should cause no more discomfort than most other invasive dental procedures. So, how do we perform the procedure? First of all, x-rays are taken to observe the infected inner tooth and determine if an abscess is present or not. If an abscess is detected, the treatment will be postponed until it has been treated, often with antibiotics.
Once your tooth is abscess free, a local anaesthetic will be given to minimise any discomfort that might be felt during the procedure. The dentist will then remove the top of the tooth to gain access to the infected soft pulp inside it. This is then removed and the hollowed out tooth cleaned to remove any remaining bacteria. A special filling, known as gutta percha, is then used to fill the hollow canals and a dental crown finally attached to give the tooth a natural appearance as well as additional strength.
Care following root canal treatment
Once the procedure is complete and the anaesthetic has worn off, you may find the feeling of the tooth a little unnatural at first. The tooth will, in effect, have no feeling as the nerves have been removed along with the other soft pulp. You will soon adjust to this but it is worth bearing in mind that, as you can’t feel the tooth, it is harder to judge the amount of pressure on it.
Whilst a root canal treated tooth is strong enough for everyday use; because of the above, and the fact that it may not be as strong as a healthy tooth, we advise that you avoid biting down on very hard foods. Other than this, the only real consideration is to make sure that you brush and floss, or inter-dental clean, around the tooth. Although the tooth is, in effect dead, gum disease is still a potential threat, especially if ignored to the point where it affects the bone holding the tooth in place.
If you live in the Greenwich area and are looking for a dentist who offers both general dental care for the whole family as well as a wide range of cosmetic dental procedures to give you a great smile, please call the Confidental Clinic today on 020 8858 1422.