Edinburgh Dental Specialists 178 Rose Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4BA

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Root Canal Treatment

Introduction

Carol Taitfind out more
Dr. Robert Philpott find out more

 

Endodontists are the experts in root canal treatment. There are only 4 registered specialists in Endodontics in Scotland.

What is Endodontic Treatment?

Endodontic treatment removes infected or damaged tissue from inside a tooth. This tissue, called the pulp, contains nerves and blood vessels that, prior to being infected, helped nourish the tooth. After the pulp is removed, the pulp chamber and root canals are cleaned, disinfected, filled and sealed.

What caused the problem with my tooth?

The most common cause of pulp damage is severe decay or a fracture that exposes the pulp to bacteria that may cause infection. Other causes of pulp damage include traumatic injury such as a blow to the mouth, a cracked or loose filling or repeated fillings in a tooth, and occasionally periodontal disease.

Common symptoms requiring a root canal treatment

  • Severe toothache, typically relieved by cold water and made worse by the intake of hot liquids
  • Pain that gets worse when you lie down
  • Pain that stays for a long time after consuming cold food or drinks
  • Swelling around the tooth
  • Constant tooth pain
  • Pain when chewing
  • Pain referred to the head and ears as well

How many appointments are necessary?

Often endodontic treatment is completed in one or two appointments but occasionally in complicated cases more visits may be necessary.

Does endodontic therapy hurt?

With the use of modern techniques, root canal treatment typically involves little or no discomfort. A local anesthetic is used and it should feel no different to having an ordinary filling done. Often there is pain before treatment and endodontic treatment provides relief.

Will there be pain after the procedure?

Cleaning the root canals may cause some slight tenderness for a few days but usually over-the-counter painkillers alleviate the discomfort. If pain persists or if you experience severe pain or swelling, contact the surgery.

How much does endodontic treatment cost?

The expense of an endodontic procedure varies depending on how severe the problem is and the type of tooth. Molars with three or four canals are more difficult to treat and the fee will therefore be more. Endodontic treatment is usually more economical in the long term than any other alternative treatment.

Can all teeth be treated endodontically?

Occasionally a tooth cannot be saved. Endodontic treatment can be performed only if the root canals are accessible and can be adequately cleaned and sealed. There must be enough structure remaining to allow the tooth to be properly restored and the tooth must also have sufficient bone support. We only carry out treatment where we can give a good long-term outlook.

Can the treatment fail?

Endodontic treatment can have a success rate of up to 90% in general if carried out to a good standard allowing the tooth to remain in function. Problems can occur if the tooth develops decay or the restoration on the tooth fails, or on occasions despite good care the tooth may not heal as expected. Further endodontic treatment or surgery may be carried out if appropriate. A tooth that develops a crack can also be a cause of failure and may result in loss of the tooth.