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What is a Root Canal, and How is it Treated?

A root canal is a common dental procedure carried out to treat an infection at the centre of a tooth. There are many reasons why a root canal is necessary, and it should be completed as soon as possible to prevent further damage and pain. To give you an insight into what to expect, we explain below what a root canal is and how it should be treated. 

 

What is a root canal?

Root canal treatment is a dental procedure that targets and repairs an infected or damaged tooth instead of removing it. The term comes from the process of cleaning the canals within the root of the tooth. Although it used to be a particularly painful procedure, advances in dental equipment have made it much less so in recent times. According to the NHS, around nine out of ten root-treated teeth survive for between eight to ten years, which is an impressive success rate. 

 

How is a root canal performed? 

There are usually a number of steps to root canal treatment, which begins with an initial appointment with your dentist to discuss the best way forward. Your dentist will probably take a series of x-rays of the affected tooth to assess the level of damage before booking you in for an appointment to receive the treatment. Below are the steps that are typically involved in root canal treatment: 

 

Preparation and rubber dam installation

Your dentist will begin by installing a rubber dam around the tooth, which extracts any saliva from the treatment area and keeps it dry throughout the process. A local anaesthetic will then be administered to various points of your gum to numb the tooth, so you don’t need to worry about feeling any pain throughout the course of the treatment.

 

Pulp removal 

Once the treatment area is prepared, the dentist will open your tooth through the crown, which enables them to access the pulp within your tooth. It is the pulp that is infected and causing the pain that you’re being treated for, so your dentist will remove it. 

 

Cleaning and filling 

Following the removal of the infected pulp, your dentist will clean and treat the root canal, which is particularly narrow and can take time or even multiple visits; depending on the tooth being worked upon. After enlarging the canal with a small file, the dentist will then add a temporary filling of your choosing, which seals the tooth.  

 

Permanent sealing and fixing 

After the initial treatment, you will be called back for a follow-up appointment. Here, the dentist will remove the temporary filling and replace it with a permanent root canal filling. The final step is for your dentist to add a crown to your tooth, as this will prevent the tooth from fracturing once the entire treatment has taken place. Crowns are usually made from metal, porcelain, ceramic material, or powdered glass.

 

Do you think you need a root canal performed? 

You don’t need us to tell you that infected or damaged teeth can be exceptionally painful to endure, affecting all aspects of your day-to-day life. If you think one of your teeth might be infected or are looking for a dentist to treat you, you can read all about our professional root canal service on our website. If you would like to book an appointment at London City Smiles, call us today on 020 7838 2300 and we will get you booked in.

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