Root Canal

This is a good long term filling material, which can give many years of satisfactory service. The main disadvantage is that they are not cosmetically appealing. They are made from mercury, tin, copper and silver.

Made from composite resin, the benefit of white fillings over amalgam is that they can be matched to the tooth colour and bonded to the tooth structure, making the tooth almost as strong as it was before the decay. Many patients prefer tooth coloured fillings because they look natural and other people can’t see them when you laugh or smile. Composite fillings are often called “white fillings” but we actually use a wide range of different shades to exactly match the natural colour of your teeth. Composites are made from glass particles , resin and setting agents. Sometimes, when the existing fillings are very large, a composite filling may not be an option – a porcelain inlay may be required.

Root canal treatment (also called endodontic treatment) is the process where a dentist removes the pulp (the blood and nerve supply) from an infected or dying tooth and replaces it with dental filling material. The pulp of the tooth can become infected when decay passes right through the hard parts of the tooth into the root canal system in the middle. It can also happen if the tooth is accidentally damaged for example a blow to the teeth or face.

When an infection starts it can spread throughout the root canal system, eventually leading to an abscess. If you don’t have root canal treatment the infection can spread into the surrounding tissues, causing pain and swelling, and your dentist may have no choice but to extract the tooth. It is always better to avoid an extraction if possible.You won’t necessarily feel any pain in the early stages: but just because a tooth isn’t hurting yet doesn’t necessarily mean that it is healthy.

As with many illnesses, there isn’t any pain or discomfort until the latter stages of the disease and treatment is often more effective and more likely to succeed if started early. The aim of this treatment is to remove all infection, after which the root is cleaned and filled with warmed Gutta Percha to prevent further infection.

Teeth often last for many more years after a root filling has been placed. Nonetheless, root filled teeth are more brittle and prone to fracture than “live” teeth. This often means that it is necessary to place a crown on the tooth after root canal treatment. The crown helps to hold what remains of the tooth together and to protect it.

Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. Most courses of treatment will involve two or more visits to your dentist. It is possible for the infection comes back and the tooth may need to be re-rootfilled or may need to be extracted.

The alternative to root canal treatment is extraction followed by no replacement or replacement with a removable partial denture, bridge (fixed or adhesive) or an implant.

Teeth sometimes need to be extracted, although this is quite rare these days. Some of the main reasons teeth may need to be extracted are:

  • To relieve over-crowding
  • If a tooth is broken and cannot be repaired
  • If a tooth is so badly decayed it cannot be repaired
  • If a tooth has an abscess and the patient for whatever reason does not wish to save it
  • If a tooth has severe gum disease and is very loose

Extractions are normally carried out under local anesthetic and are usually quick and painless. Occasionally they are more difficult and a small surgical procedure is required to remove the tooth.

There are several excellent specialists in the area to whom we refer problem cases for root canal, gum disease and implants. Orthodontics and oral surgery are also areas that sometimes need referral.