"We can save most teeth...
as long as there is enough
healthy tooth remaining."
Performed under microscope, with full local anaesthesia so you feel no pain... just relax and let us do the work.
We have performed thousands of root canal treatments and have an extremely high success rate. What makes us different is the fact we manage your situation all in house. So from simple or complex root canal treatment, to 3D imaging CT scanning and to the final crown we look after you every step. If your tooth cannot be saved... we can remove the tooth, preserve the bone and gum and place and implant should you wish. We even perform micro-surgical endodontic apicetomies where the tooth needs to be saved surgically if it has had existing 'successful' treatment.
WHAT IS A ROOT CANAL?
If decay, infection or trauma spreads to the nerve of a tooth your dentist will advise you (if the tooth is salvageable) to either have root canal treatment or failing this tooth removal.
Many patients can become very nervous when this procedure is mentioned to them, if anything the process should be relatively painless when anaesthetised correctly, although patients are generally warned of tenderness post operatively for 2-3 days. The process can take multiple appointments from start to finish but this can depend on the number of canals and the complexity of the treatment.
The aim for the dentist is to remove the affected pulp (nerve) and then clean and shape the canal to allow room for the canal to be filled (normally with an inert rubber filling called gutta percha).
Once the root canal is completed the next important step is to seal the tooth with a filling and ideally a crown especially on the molar teeth. The benefit of this is to prevent the canals from becoming inflamed or infected again and a crown can protect the tooth from fracturing especially if a large filling is placed over the root canal.
Is it painful?
The procedure itself done by the dentist will be done under local anaesthetic so you should feel nothing once fully administered. We no longer perform general anaesthetic in dental practices therefore if you are very very nervous you may need to be referred to a hospital specialist. Although during the procedure you will be fine afterwards we normally state that it may take up to a week or so after for everything to feel normal again. Taking your usual painkillers such a paracetamol should be helpful.
My tooth is cracked what do I do?
If the fracture is small it may just need a simple filling or half crown. If extending into the nerve it may need a root canal and a crown. If the fracture extends all the way through the middle of the tooth and below the gum, the tooth may be un-restorable and need to be removed. If the tooth is also wobbly this normally suggests a poor prognosis and may result in the tooth being lost.
I have had lots of pain, infection or a big hole into the nerve of the tooth - what are my options?
1) Leave and do nothing.
Advantages: No expense. No treatment carried out by a dentist. You just keep living your life as you are. If you have no pain or the pain has settled there no guarantee that this will not develop in the future but as to when... we cannot predict it.
Disadvantages: If left the problem could get worse and any chances of possibly saving the tooth could go also. You could develop life threatening swelling or infection. This is not being over dramatic... it is a serious painful condition and must be treated as such. The longer you leave an infection, it could make anaesthetising the tooth harder and require more injections resultantly (whether you decide to save or remove it).
2) Try to save the tooth with root canal treatment.
Advantages: You get to keep the tooth for longer and avoid having a missing tooth or replacing it with a bridge, implant or denture. We normally say a good root canal and crown should last in the region of 10-15 years. This is not always guaranteed however, as there is no such thing as a 100% success forever in the field of dentistry. It is generally a painless procedure that can be completed in 1-2 visits.
Disadvantages: Cost... it is an expensive procedure due to amount of time, technical skill and expensive equipment needed i.e.microscopes. It can take a few visits for it all to be done due to the complexity of the process. At the end of your treatment we normally recommend a half or full crown to prevent the tooth from fracturing (which will add to the over all cost). Please read the answer to the question 'do I need a crown after a root canal?'.
As stated earlier there is no guarantee of a 100% success and how long it will be successful for (we do have an extremely high success rate but we do have a small failure percentage as we perform more complex treatments than most others). Sometimes after your treatment there could still be some infection that may require some antibiotics to clear it up. If it the tooth does not settle it may need further cleaning and the process repeated. If the tooth still has an infection, it may require surgery at the tip of the root to clean it out. If all other possibilities are exhausted or an extensive crack develops then the tooth may be lost.
3) Remove the tooth.
Advantages: Generally solves the problem of pain and symptoms. It is the quickest treatment solution. It is cheaper than having a root canal treatment. In time you can leave the space or replace the space with an implant, bridge or denture.
Disadvantages: Having a tooth it out is never a pleasant procedure. If the tooth is heavily broken down it may require surgical removal that can involve stitches afterwards. If you have osteoporosis, reduced immunity or poor healing it may take at least 3-6 months for the area to heal fully. Replacing the area with an implant, bridge or denture can become more costly over time than having a simple root canal treatment. We always advise where possible and practical to try and save teeth as nothing will ever perform as well in your mouth as your original healthy teeth.
Why do I need a crown (or half crown) on my tooth after a root canal?
Great question. The reason is that after a root canal procedure where we drill and file through the middle of the tooth it can become increasingly fragile. Therefore a crown will not only hopefully seal the tooth but also provide some added protection when you bite, eat and chew. We normally recommend having a crown done relatively soon after the root canal procedure to provide this protection. The reason is that from experience patients have left it a little too long and then the tooth splits on eating and end up losing the tooth. Therefore when we recommend this, it is normally for your own benefit especially if you have had a successful root canal performed already.