Root Canal Surgery Explained

What to expect when you are told you need this type of treatment?

Nervous of the dentistEverybody has heard of root canal treatment, with many believing it as one of the most painful things imaginable. How truthful is this though? The fact is that millions of people have had this dental procedure and have survived to tell the tale, so surely it can’t be as bad as people make out, can it?

In today’s blog, our Woking team will explain why you might need root canal treatment, what it is and why it has the reputation that it seems to have.

Why are root canal procedures carried out?

You will only need to have this treatment when the root canals of a tooth become infected. The canals contain a soft pulp material that includes not only tiny blood vessels, but it is also where the nerves of the tooth are located. As you can imagine, once this becomes infected, it can be quite painful.

In most cases the infections will have been caused by bacteria entering this part of the tooth through a damaged or decayed part of the external enamel. This isn’t inevitable though and is yet another reason to contact your Synergy Parkside dentist for an appointment if you have even a minor toothache. This may signal that you have a small cavity which may be filled with a simple filling. If this is ignored, the bacteria can soon find its way to the root canals and you will then likely need to have this treatment.

It should be noted that it isn’t just decay that can allow this to happen. Any compromising of the enamel, including cracks or chips, can lead to this. Make sure that you have your teeth checked regularly so that any problems can be detected and treated as soon as possible.

What happens during a root canal procedure?

Some people imagine all sorts of things when they hear these words, especially if they have not had the treatment themselves. Although it requires training and skills to carry the procedure out, it is actually relatively easy to explain in a rudimentary form. First of all, we will x-ray the affected tooth. This is to check that there are no abscesses present. If any are found, these will be treated first and your procedure may be postponed until this has taken effect. Once this has happened, or where no abscesses are found, we will apply a local anaesthetic to the area to minimise any discomfort you might feel. Once this has taken effect, your dentist will then remove the top of the tooth to allow them to gain access to the roots.

Once this has been done, the infected soft pulp will be removed and the hollow canals then cleaned thoroughly in order to remove any lingering bacteria. They will then be filled with a special filling called gutta percha which is known for its excellent sealant properties, helping to prevent reinfection.

The final step, in most cases, is to place a crown on top of the tooth. This fulfills a number of purposes including giving it additional strength that will allow you to use the tooth for everyday purposes. We do advise against using this tooth to bite very hard foods though as the lack of nerves inside the tooth means that you won’t be able to gauge the amount of pressure used and this could cause the tooth to become damaged.

With good care, your root canal treated tooth should last between 8 to 10 years and quite often more.

Is a root canal procedure painful?

An infection in this area can be very painful, especially where an abscess has formed. The procedure itself though, despite its reputation, should not be feared.

The general consensus in the dental community is that it has gained its reputation from a time when x-rays were not widely available and possibly, local anaesthetics not as strong either. Imagine an abscess being drilled into with a less effective anaesthetic and it isn’t difficult to see where it might have got its reputation from. Modern dentistry means that these problems don’t exist. At Synergy Parkside, we always x-ray to check for abscesses and treat them where necessary. The local anaesthetic used is also very effective. Add to this, the experience of our dentists and whilst we won’t claim that you will enjoy the treatment, there is no reason why it should be any more uncomfortable than most other types of dentistry.

As with all treatments, we are always happy to discuss it with you and address any concerns that you might have.

If you would like more information on root canal treatments or would like to make an appointment to see a dentist about a problem you are experiencing, please call our Woking dental clinic on 01483 766355.

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