Also known as endodontic therapy, a root canal is a procedure that’s used to treat an infection inside the tooth.
The underlying infection is caused by the bacteria that live in your mouth naturally, and which are responsible for causing cavities. The need for a root canal is most commonly associated with tooth decay, but can also be attributed to a problematic filling or when teeth are damaged due to trauma.
Infected root canals can be very painful and patients in need of treatment often experience a high level of sensitivity, even when they’re not eating or drinking. In extreme cases, the infection can cause an abscess and your face can become swollen. That’s why it’s important to get treatment from a qualified professional as soon as possible.
Although most people shudder at the thought of having a root canal, the truth is that with careful treatment and a skilled dentist undertaking the procedure, you should feel very little pain during the process. In most cases, patients should feel nothing more than a bit of pressure – similar to what you would experience when getting a filling.
A root canal begins with the dentist giving you a local anaesthetic to numb the area around the infected tooth. Once the medication has taken effect, they will begin removing the unhealthy parts of the tooth using the dental drill. This process involves not only clearing out the parts of the tooth made of bone and enamel, but also the pulp and ‘root canal’ section located at the centre of the tooth. This structure contains blood vessels and nerve tissue.
When the centre of the tooth has been hollowed out, the empty space is then filled with a specially formulated substance. Finally, depending on how much of the outer tooth layer was removed, a crown or onlay will be used to seal off the tooth and reconstruct the chewing surface.
In most cases, patients will receive a temporary crown or dental onlay placed on the day of the root canal procedure. They will then need to return in a couple of weeks to get the permanent piece placed.
Once the root canal treatment is finished. Patients should avoid biting on hard or sticky foods – especially while they have the temporary crown or onlay. For a few days after the procedure, you may also notice an increased level of sensitivity when eating hot or cold foods. This should decrease over time.
Maintaining good dental health is also important after a root canal treatment, as this will help to keep the remaining tooth – as well as the rest of your teeth – free from decay and bacteria. You can brush and floss around the treated tooth as normal, and if you find it more difficult to floss after you’ve had a root canal, be sure to discuss this with your dentist or hygienist.
Remember that after a root canal, the treated tooth will technically be dead. However, with proper care, it can remain in good condition alongside your other teeth for many years without any problems.
Whether you’re experiencing symptoms of an infected root canal and are in need of treatment, or you are simply looking for a skilled and highly qualified dentistry service in central London, Museum Dental Suites is the ideal choice.
Located in Bloomsbury, and across the street from the British Museum, our suites are situated in a beautiful historic building and we’ve worked hard to create a relaxing and tranquil atmosphere where our patients can feel comfortable.
Appointments are available seven days a week, and our friendly team will be happy to answer any questions you may have about your dental health. Simply phone us on 0207 036 1999 to find out more.