Why We Might Recommend Root Canal Treatment

Forget your anxiety about this treatment. It can save your tooth!

When what happens during a root canal procedure is explained in detail by our Wickford dentists, you can almost see the sense of relief on the patient’s face.

There is little doubt that it is the most feared dental procedure and has become synonymous with extreme pain. This supposed link with intense pain is somewhat misleading however, although perhaps before local anaesthetics and x-rays were used, this may not have been the case!

You can be sure, at the Cygnet Dental Practice, that our experienced dentists and modern equipment means that you have absolutely nothing to fear.

Why you may need a root canal procedure

First of all, let us look at why we actually need to sometimes perform this procedure. Unlike a filling, where the enamel or dentin layer of the tooth needs restoring, a root canal procedure is necessary when the inner canals of the tooth become infected. As this area is where blood vessels and nerves are located, this can sometimes lead to intense pain.

The procedure can also be used when a tooth dies. This can happen, for example, due to  trauma, such as an accident. Once the soft pulp material dies, it gradually becomes infected, leading to pus and pressure build up, often causing pain. In either of these situations, root canal therapy can save your tooth.

The reality

Without going into detailed medical terminology, the basics of a root canal treatment are quite straightforward and the treatment takes part in six stages.

  1. An x-ray is taken to check for abscesses. If any are found, these will need to be treated, usually with antibiotics, and your root canal postponed until the abscesses are gone.
  2. When no abscesses are present, your treatment can begin. Firstly, you will be given a local anaesthetic to ensure that any discomfort during the procedure is kept to an absolute minimum.
  3. The dentist will remove the top of the tooth so that the infected canals can be reached.
  4. The infected material will be removed and the hollow canals cleaned with an antibacterial cleaning agent to prevent reinfection.
  5. The canals are filled with ‘gutta percha’, a special filling used in this procedure.
  6. The treated tooth is usually completed by the attachment of a dental crown to strengthen the tooth and give it a natural appearance.

Alternative solutions

Patients who are told that they need this procedure sometimes ask if there are alternative options. There are only two:

  1. Leave the infected tooth until it becomes incredibly painful and needing emergency treatment – definitely not recommended.
  2. Extracting the tooth – We could extract the tooth and replace with a dental implant, for example. This is unnecessary though, as well as more expensive. A root canal treated tooth should be long lasting and it is always better to preserve a natural tooth wherever possible.

If there are any dental procedures that we carry out at our Wickford practice that you would like to know more about, we are happy to cover these in our regular blog posts. You can contact us via our enquiry page or telephone the Cygnet Dental Practice on 01268 733028.