Root canal treatment questions & answers
When is root canal treatment necessary?
There are three reasons why root canal treatment is necessary.
Firstly, if the nerve and blood vessels in the middle of the root (the dental pulp) are inflamed or degenerating, then pain (sometimes severe) may result.
Secondly, if the dental pulp degenerates completely, the root canal is empty and usually becomes infected inevitably causing an abscess. This infection can spread and be painful.
Thirdly, it is sometimes necessary to do a root canal treatment if it is the only way to get anchorage for a large filling or crown. Tooth decay, a crack or a large restoration, if it involves the dental pulp, may cause it to degenerate or become inflamed. Sometimes this can happen for no apparent reason.
How is root canal treatment done?
The dentist will cut a hole through the top of your tooth and locate the root canals where the inflamed or dead dental pulp is situated. The canals are measured, then widened and cleaned with fine instruments called files. The canals are sealed with permanent filling or crown to prevent re-infection. Abscesses, in most cases, will heal once the root canal treatment is completed. This procedure is done over a series of visits. It is important to note that the filling placed in between visits is a temporary one and will fall out in due course if you do not return to complete the treatment.
Is the tooth dead after root canal treatment?
No. The dental pulp is no longer present but the outside of the tooth where it is connected to the bone is alive.
Will the treatment be painful?
No. Local anaesthetic is carefully injected to make the area numb. Modern techniques will ensure the treatment is pain free. Occasionally the tooth can be tender to chew on between visits. Sometimes part of either the tooth or the temporary cement could fall out between visits, but it can be rectified at the end.
How much does it cost?
It depends on how many root canals there are in the tooth. If you do not come for the appointments as given by the dentist, the problem will recur with pain or an abscess, and there will be a necessity of additional visits at extra cost.