We will always endeavour to save your teeth rather than remove them, because natural teeth are almost always better than anything we can construct for you. The loss of even one tooth can have a detrimental effect on your mouth and may lead to your other teeth drifting into the gap, which can cause problems with your bite.
Teeth that are extensively decayed or heavily restored can sometimes start to die and the nerve tissue inside the tooth can become inflamed or infected. In this instance, if the diseased nerve tissue is left inside the tooth, it can become painful and form an abscess. To prevent this from happening, a root treatment may be indicated.
A root treatment involves the removal of the diseased nerve (pulp) tissue from inside the tooth. The space left behind is thoroughly cleaned and shaped to allow a filling to be placed to try and prevent any infection from reoccurring.
Once root-treated, the tooth can be restored with a filling or sometimes a crown is indicated to strengthen the tooth.
The signs of nerve damage
Signs of pulp damage may include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, swelling, tenderness of the overlying gums or a bad taste in the mouth. Sometimes, there are no signs or symptoms at all.
Root canal treatments are usually painless as the tooth is anaesthetised during treatment. After treatment, the tooth may be sensitive or tender for a few days due to inflammation of the surrounding tissues. Taking over-the-counter painkillers can relieve this discomfort. However, if the pain persists and is severe, or a swelling occurs, you should contact us immediately.
When is root canal treatment necessary?
When the nerve and blood vessels in the tooth (dental pulp) are inflamed and degenerated. This is usually accompanied by pain. Sometimes the root canals can become infected, leading to the formation of an abscess, with or without discomfort on biting.
What is the reason for the disease of the dental pulp?
Tooth decay, cracks, large fillings, trauma or even tooth wear can sometimes cause irreversible damage to the dental pulp.
How long does root treatment take?
A routine root canal treatment usually takes between 1.5 and 2 hours, sometimes over more than one visit, depending on the situation.
How long will the tooth last?
If caught early enough, the success rate for root canal treatment is in the region of 80%-95%. The success depends on firstly being able to access the root canals and secondly on the ability to disinfect the entire length of the root canals. In some cases this is not possible due to the extent of the infection, technical difficulties and complications. Once a tooth is successfully root-treated and restored, it should last for years.