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Root Canal Treatment / endodontics

What is a root canal?

All teeth have a nerve and blood supply, called the pulp, these are positioned inside one or more canals depending upon the tooth. The larger teeth towards the back of the mouth usually have two to four canals whose structure can be quite complex.

When would you need root canal treatment ?

Root canal (or endodontic) treatment is needed when the pulp becomes affected by decay or trauma. The pulp can either become inflamed and painful or in more severe cases non-vital, which means that the tooth loses its blood supply altogether. A non-vital tooth can become infected and this is termed an abscess. if a non-vial tooth is left untreated in most cases an abscess or will develop.

What does the treatment involve?

Root canal treatment involves cleaning out the canals in the tooth, disinfecting them and then filling them very accurately and thoroughly with a root filling. This usually requires two or more visits to the dentist. The complexity lies in the fact that the dentist is working inside of the tooth to very small tolerances. It consists of the following stages:

  • Removing the remains of the pulp and if an abscess is present, allowing it to drain
  • The cleaning and shaping of the root canals ready for their filling
  • Putting in temporary filling
  • Checking the tooth at a later visit, ensuring that the infection is cleared and filling it permanently

Root canal treatments are usually successful and the infection does not come back, but if it does the treatment can be repeated.

Are root treatments uncomfortable?

As with all modern dental techniques, local anaesthetics make root treatments very comfortable. Your experience of having a root treatment should be no different to that of having a normal filling. It is quite common though that the root treated tooth could be a bit tender to pressure, such as biting for a day or two after the treatment. This usually subsides quite quickly. If you have any concerns following your treatment.

Does the root treatment change the colour of the tooth?

It does happen that a root treated tooth will darken with time. It’s quite a slow process and it could be some years before it’s noticeable, particularly if it’s a back tooth. Fortunately there are new techniques to lighten root treated teeth or alternatively your dentist at Dental Perfection may suggest that the tooth should be crowned or veneered. Most patients prefer to have a slightly darker tooth than to lose it altogether.

Is the tooth weakened by the treatment?

It is generally thought that root canal treated teeth are not as strong as normal ones. Whether this will necessitate further treatment to strengthen the tooth will depend upon its position in the mouth and the amount of damage or decay that led to the root canal treatment being needed in the first place. Your dentist will advise whether it is necessary to have crown or other restoration fitted for extra strength.

Are there any alternatives to root canal treatments?

Once the nerve has become non-vital and an abscess has developed the only alternative to root canal treatment would be to have the tooth extracted. This is because pulp is unable to heal and it is inadvisable to leave an infected tooth in the mouth.

Do I need to eat or clean my teeth differently afterwards?

No, you can eat quite normally, there are no special precautions. As always you should avoid holding hard objects such as pins or nails between the teeth. Once the root treatment is finished you shouldn’t know it’s there. Your oral hygiene should be carried out in exactly the same way as with your other teeth.

At Dental Perfection we use the latest in Nickel-titanium rotary instruments to carry out root canal treatment.



Dental Perfection
1 Dryland Street
NN16 0BE

Tel: 01536 411150

Dental Health

Our Kettering dentists and hygienists can offer you one to one training on oral hygiene, prevention, and teaching your children in a fun and educational way to enhance their oral health. This may also benefit those patients who wear dentures and would like some help on how to look after them.

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