The Root Canal Procedure – An Overview

The truth about this sometimes feared dental treatment.

We start our look at some of the treatments offered at the Elmfield House Dental Practice with perhaps one of the most feared; the root canal procedure. Most of our Teddington dental patients will, no doubt, have heard tales about how ‘painful’ this procedure is, so it is time to put that myth to bed once and for all.

Why do you need a root canal procedure?

A root canal procedure is necessary when the pulp matter, which includes tiny blood vessels and nerves, within the root canals of the teeth become infected. As you can imagine, this can be very painful and needs to be treated promptly. Without this procedure, the only other option would be to extract the tooth altogether.

What happens during the treatment?

In order to have a root canal procedure, you will be given a local anaesthetic which will minimise any potential discomfort you might feel. The top part of the tooth may then be removed so that we can access the root canals. The infected material will be removed and the now hollow canals thoroughly cleaned to avoid possible re-infection.

The cleaned root canals are then filled with a special type of filling known as gutta percha. A dental crown will then be added to complete the tooth, restoring its appearance and providing additional strength.

Does it hurt?

A root canal procedure should cause no more discomfort than most other invasive procedures. It is widely believed that the ‘painful’ tales originate from a time when x-rays were not widely used to check for abscesses. As you can imagine, drilling into one of these would be excruciating painful. Our Teddington patients can rest assured that we will always take x-rays before any treatment starts. If an abscess is found, your root canal procedure will be delayed whilst the abscess is treated. The combination of this and the local anaesthetic means that most patients receive the treatment with very little discomfort.

Once your tooth has been restored using this treatment, it will be strong enough for everyday use. One ‘side effect’ of this treatment is that, with the nerves being removed during the procedure, the restored tooth now has no sensation. This means that it is possible to bite down harder than intended. Whilst it should serve you well generally, it is advisable to avoid using this tooth to bite on harder foods especially, as it may cause it to fracture.

We will, of course, monitor the health of the treated tooth, along with your other teeth during your six monthly check up at Elmfield House Dental Practice. If you would like to register with us or to arrange an appointment, you can do so by calling us on 020 8614 1995. Our experienced and friendly team will be pleased to help!