Any dentist will attest that nothing feels, or functions, quite like your own natural teeth – and endodontics, or root canal treatment, can be seen as rescuing teeth from the brink of being lost forever.
With the right care, your smile really can last a lifetime – but if things go wrong, here at Beaufort Dental Clinic our experienced endodontics team will do everything in its power to save your natural teeth.
“Endo” means “inside”, and endodontics – another term for root canal treatment – is the area of dentistry concerned with the inner tooth. Under the tooth’s two hard outer layers – enamel and dentine – lies the tooth pulp, a collection of blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue, crucial to early tooth development. When cavities, gum disease or tooth decay set in, or an injury occurs, the pulp can become infected. Root canal treatment involves the removal of the pulp, followed by filling and restorative dental work.
Root canal treatment is cost-effective and considerably less invasive than other forms of treatment, such as tooth extraction and dental implants. In most cases, root canal treatment allows patients to enjoy a lifetime of natural teeth.
No! The idea that root canal is painful is a popular misconception that dates back to a time when anaesthetic was not available. If you require root canal treatment, it is likely you will already be experiencing severe tooth, jaw or facial pain – and your endodontist will quickly remove the cause of this discomfort. The procedure is carried out under local anaesthetic, which is continually monitored and topped up so that patients feel no pain whatsoever during root canal treatment.
Yes – root canal treatment not only relieves tooth pain but prevents reinfection too. At Beaufort Dental Clinic the root canal procedure is carried out by an extremely experienced endodontics team, so you can be confident that your root canal treatment will restore your natural smile.
Often it will be your family dentist who discovers an early sign of a deep-seated infection, as this can appear on an X-ray long before you experience any physical discomfort. However, classic symptoms of a tooth requiring root canal treatment include:
• Sensitivity to hot or cold food and drinks
• Discolouration of the tooth
• Inflamed gums around the tooth
• Tenderness when biting
• The procedure is complex and can take a few hours
• After your local anaesthetic is administered, the dentist isolates your tooth with a rubber dam. This stops saliva touching the tooth during treatment and enables you to swallow comfortably
• The dentist drills through the tooth to make a hole, and uses a special tool to widen the passage. A suction tool removes all the infected pulp
• The space left behind by the pulp is then filled with gutta percha, a rubbery substance that maintains the tooth’s strength and structure, and seals against future infection. A permanent filling or crown will need to be added at a later date