Endodontic treatment

   

Root canal treatment

The early stages of an infection may be relatively painless - or, in the case of a long-standing low-grade infection, the affected tooth may just darken in colour or become slightly loose. But if the infection develops into an abscess, the symptoms can range from a dull ache to severe pain, with the tooth feeling tender to bite on. If we suspect this is the problem we will take an xray of the tooth to locate the infected area and check that it is suitable for root canal treatment.

Root canal treatment is a skilled procedure, and is performed under local anaesthetic. After making a small hole in the surface of the tooth, we use an operating microscope to explore the root, remove the dead tissue, and flush out any infection. The whole process usually takes about an hour.

Sometimes, we are able to re-fill the root and tooth at the same visit - but only if we are sure that the infection has been completely cleared. More commonly, the inside of the tooth is packed with an antiseptic dressing, and a temporary filling is put in place to allow the tooth to settle down. This is replaced by a permanent filling about two to four weeks later.