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Endodontics (Root Canal Treatment)

What is root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment or Endodontics is a specialist dental procedure designed to retain the tooth safely and comfortably, by treating the inside of the tooth.  Fracture, deep tooth decay, faulty bite, a blow or impact, or just because the tooth has had a number of fillings can cause the pulp (nerve) to become infected or inflamed.  During root canal treatment the canals are carefully cleaned and the infection is removed form the tooth relieving the pain enabling the tooth to function correctly in the mouth. In cases where root treatment is not performed, the tooth has to be extracted. By having root treatment you will not only keep your own tooth but it also is the most cost effective way of treatment in comparison to tooth extraction and its replacement with a bridge or an implant. Treatment normally involves two and sometimes three appointments but in some cases it may be carried out in one visit.

Why have I been referred to a specialist?

Like many specialists in other fields of science and medicine, Endodontists have had further training and are more experienced in carrying out this type of treatment.  They perform routine and complex procedures including re-root treatment, surgical procedures as well as diagnosis of oral and facial pain.  To achieve greater success, they use a microscope and special instruments to aid them access the fine, curved root canals which are normally difficult to reach.  By having your tooth treated by an Endodontist your tooth will have a much better chance of survival, therefore allowing you to keep your tooth for much longer.

Is it painful?

You will have a local anaesthetic before the start of the treatment so you will not feel any pain while the treatment is being carried out.  There will inevitably be some discomfort after the treatment.  We will advise you how to manage this discomfort on the day of your treatment.  Antibiotics will only be prescribed if there are signs of fever or swelling following treatment. 

The majority of cases of discomfort will be resolved by taking normal painkillers.  Patients are encouraged to contact us if they are in any way worried about the post- treatment discomfort.  We run a 24/7 service should you wish to speak to the Endodontist at any stage.

Pre-treatment care

After receiving a referral from your dentist, we will contact you and suggest that you have an initial consultation with the specialist.  The consultation period is usually between 15 – 30 minutes.  During the consultation the tooth will be examined and some X-rays will be taken. Following this, the prognosis of the treatment as well as your treatment options will be discussed with you fully.  You will also be able to ask any questions you may have.  Further appointments could then be arranged for the treatment to be carried out. If you are an anxious patient, please do let us know during the consultation period and we will do our best to make your treatment even more comfortable.  Each person and their dental requirements are unique, which is why we endeavour to discuss the various options that are available to you so that you can make the right decision which is best for you as and when you are ready.

Post-treatment care

 After completion of root treatment you will need to see your dentist for the final restoration.  This is normally a crown which has to be prepared and placed over the tooth to protect it from future fracture.  This will be discussed with you during the consultation appointment and further upon completion of the root treatment.  If the tooth does not require a crown, the Endodontist will inform you about it at the end of the treatment.  The Endodontist may also need to see you for a review one year post-treatment and you will be informed of this after the completion of your treatment.  The review appointment is free of charge.  

Innovative technology & techniques

Using an operative microscope with 5 different magnifications allows us to see into the root canal system, look for minute cracks as well as assisting us in performing high level microsurgical techniques.  Digital X-ray allows the image of the tooth to be viewed within seconds on the computer screen.  These images are of high quality and help discuss the cases with patients more easily.  

We use Nickle Titanium Rotary Instruments which are very flexible to remove the bacteria from the root canals. The files are driven by a motor which is more comfortable for the patient rather than using hand instruments. All files are single use. The most modern and approved sterilisation techniques are used to sterilise all the instruments and equipment which are not disposable. 

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