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Although any dentist should be able to perform most types of root canal treatment, the most likely reason for your referral is the complexity of your case. By seeking treatment with a registered specialist endodontist (root canal specialist) the outcome of your treatment tends to be more favourable and predicable.

Root canal treatment is necessary when a tooth becomes infected and painful and saves teeth which would otherwise have to be extracted. This is through cleaning and filling of the root canal space followed by the permanent protection of that tooth. Most commonly, with either a filling or crown.

The treatment is always carried out under local anaesthetic and therefore should be pain free. After the treatment is completed you may experience some tenderness to the area for which simple over the counter painkillers can be taken. In a very small number of teeth you may experience a post-operative "flare up" which may include pain and swelling. In these cases, you may need antibiotics.

As the treatment is complex and often requires long appointments, you may experience some jaw ache for a few days. Should this occur, over the counter anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers can help alleviate the symptoms.

The goal of treatment is actually rather simple: to remove the bacteria that have breached into the root canal system and this is achieved by disinfection of the root canals.

In order to ensure that we have a very clean and safe area to work in, the tooth to be treated will be isolated with a 'rubber dam'. This is a protective sheet placed over the tooth, designed to stop it and the root canals becoming contaminated with saliva during treatment. The rubber dam also stops water spray and debris going to the back of your mouth and throat. You can breathe and swallow normally behind the rubber dam.

In order to get to the root canal system, a little access cavity is made through the biting surface. Frequently, removing the pre-existing filling or drilling through it or a crown will be required, but this will be discussed with you before treatment is initiated.

The root canals are widened slightly with endodontic files, just enough to allow cleaning solutions to be flushed in and out of them. Radiographs (x-rays) will be taken to facilitate treatment.

Treatment sometimes needs more than one visit and, if this is the case, an antibacterial paste will be placed inside the root canals and the tooth will be sealed for a short period of time. During this time, you need be cautious, but generally you can use the tooth normally.

Root canal treatment is completed by permanently filling the root canal system. This helps to reduce the risk of bacteria re-entering the tooth and prevents reinfection. A permanent filling is placed in the cavity made in the biting surface of the tooth. If required the tooth is ready for your dentist to place the permanent crown.

A consultation to discuss and assess your treatment needs will be required before a definitive treatment quote can be provided. In the meantime, if you wish to understand our fees please click here.

Occasionally, teeth that have had root canal treatment can reinfect and the procedure may need to be re-done (root canal retreatment) or you may need to have a persistent infection managed via endodontic microsurgery, where part of the root is removed surgically. In some cases, a multidisciplinary approach may be required, for example, your tooth may require the involvement of a specialist periodontist (gum disease specialist) or prosthodontist (crown and bridge specialist)

Teeth that have had root canal treatment can sometimes become problematic if bacteria find their way back inside the tooth. This can happen if optimal cleaning of the canals did not take place due to difficulties during the original treatment. Cleaning root canals can be very hard to do if for example, there are blockages or obstacles in a canal. This is why there are specialists in this aspect of dentistry. Re-treatment can also be needed if the filling in the tooth, or the tooth itself, breaks and the root canal system becomes infected. However, if the canals can be completely disinfected, 'second time' root canal retreatment is effective and the best option if you wish to save your tooth.

Sometimes teeth can be extensively compromised, or you may not need treatment altogether. In these instances, we will always discuss whether or not an alternative form of treatment would be better for you.

Endodontic microsurgery is a surgical procedure aimed at removing the tip of the root, which is often the most infected part of the tooth. The root canal is then sealed from the top with a special type of cement. This is usually done when the root canal treatment and/or re-treatment has been unsuccessful. It is usually the very last attempt at saving the tooth. In some cases access to the root canal is not possible through the crown of the tooth due to obstructions such as a post. To remove the infection apical surgery can be performed. Surgery involves making a small incision in the gum to get access the root, cutting the tip of the root and clearing any infected tissue from the area. Once the root canal is sealed the gum is repositioned and sutured in place. The sutures (stitches) are usually removed 4-6 days later. This procedure is done under local anaesthetic.

The short term side effects of surgery include: swelling and bruising which are the most common and usually occur the day after surgery. Cold packs after the treatment and anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce the extent of the swelling.

Longer term side effects include possible gum recession, which may in some cases show the margin of a crown, and possible scarring which is usually minimal and most of the time hidden away from sight.

Root canal treatment is the right option if you wish to save your natural tooth.

Sometimes, endodontic treatment cannot be delivered, this could be because the tooth is beyond repair, because you have advanced periodontal (gum) disease or simply because you might not need root canal treatment.

If your tooth needs to be taken out, then a prosthetic device may be required. Among others, this could be an implant supported crown, a bridge or a removable denture (plate).

These options will be discussed in your initial consultation.

East of England Endodontics at

Prince of Wales Road Dental Practice
42 Prince of Wales Rd
Norwich, NR1 1LG

Call us today: 01603 629344
Email us: info@eastofenglandendodontics.com

East of England Endodontics at

Blue Sky Dental
64 Baddow Road
Chelmsford, CM2 0DL

Call us today: 01603 629344
Email us: info@eastofenglandendodontics.com

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Opening Hours

Monday 8:30 am - 6:00 pm
| Tuesday 8:30 am - 2:00 pm
| Wednesday 9:30 am - 5:50 pm
Thursday 9:30 am - 5:50 pm
| Saturday By Appointment
| Sunday Closed