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What is root canal treatment, and why will your dentist prescribe it?

Root canal treatment is one of those dental procedures with an unwarranted bad reputation. Those three little words can strike a twinge of fear into the heart of even the bravest patient, but in fact it is nothing at all to be worried about. If your dentist tells you that you need root canal treatment, it will be in order to try to save an infected tooth.

root-canal-treatmentA dentist will prescribe root canal treatment – or endodontics, to give it its official name – in cases of tooth infection. Teeth can become infected through dental decay, or through chips, cracks, and fractures. It is for this reason that even a minor chip or crack requires prompt intervention from a dentist, because even the tiniest crack can be enough to allow bacteria to enter the pulp or nerve at the centre of a tooth.

This infection can spread quickly through the root canal system of the tooth, with pain being the most common symptom. It is never a good idea to think you can cope with dental pain, even if it is relatively mild or intermittent. Pain is a sure sign something isn’t right, and again requires a prompt visit to your dentist.

Left untreated, tooth infection can lead to a dental abscess, a swelling that can be very uncomfortable indeed. Ultimately, it can lead to you losing your tooth. Root canal treatment is aimed at stopping this from happening.

Endodontic treatment will require a minimum of two appointments at Ladbroke Grove Dental Care. The procedure itself is usually carried out under local anaesthetic, and won’t feel much different to a regular filling, although because it is a skilled and intricate procedure your appointment may last longer.

Using a range of special equipment and techniques, your dentist will cleanse your tooth and the root canal system of all traces of infection. At the first appointment a temporary filling will be fitted, then you will be seen again approximately a week later. After first checking the infection has fully cleared, your dentist will permanently fill the tooth. Often, a crown will be placed for additional strength.

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