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What is a root canal treatment?

A root canal treatment is a dental procedure used to replace infected or damaged pulp inside the tooth with a filling. The inside of a tooth is hollow and contains the pulp, which is sensitive tissue that contains blood vessels and nerves to supply nutrients, feeling and blood to the tooth. The hollow part of the tooth is called the root canal.

Why would I need a root canal treatment?

If the pulp in one or more of your teeth has become infected or damaged, or if an abscess has developed you may need a root canal. The infection or damage can be caused by untreated dental decay, tooth damage, gum disease, tooth grinding, or decay under a filling. These symptoms can cause serious pain, sensitivity, darkening of the tooth, and tenderness, swelling, or small bumps on the gums.

What should I expect from a root canal treatment?

A root canal treatment may need to be performed over two to three visits, depending on the complexity of your problem. The dentist will numb your affected tooth and a rubber dam will be placed over it to prevent any dental material or disinfectant from entering your mouth, while also keeping bacteria from saliva away from your tooth. The dentist will carry out the procedure by cleaning, disinfecting, shaping, and filling the root canal. Molars often have three-quarter root canals and will take longer than a front tooth root canal treatment.

Are there any alternatives to a root canal treatment?

The only other alternative to a root canal treatment is to remove the tooth completely. If the damaged or infected tooth is left untreated it can worsen and spread to other teeth and parts of the mouth and jaw.

What are the risks involved in a root canal treatment?

Like all medical procedures, root canal treatments possess some risk, but rarely have complications. Complications may result in a tooth extraction, referral to a specialist, or additional treatment. If the damage is worse than previously thought or the tooth enamel is too frail to withstand the procedure, the tooth may have to be removed. An abscess may develop at the root of the tooth if any infected material remains in the tooth or if the antibiotics aren’t effective.

The most common reasons for a root canal treatment to fail are leaking fillings, missed canals, cracks or fractures, and bacteria left behind in the root canal.

Your dentist will inform you about all the possible risks and complications associated with root canal treatments.

How long will my tooth last after a root canal treatment?

Root canal treatments have a high success rate, but if we feel that your tooth will not last for a long time, the treatment will not be suggested. Your tooth will last longer when given a strong and durable restoration.

Will I feel any pain after the treatment?

You may experience some sensitivity and tooth pain after the treatment, but it is important to maintain the proper oral hygiene routine suggested by your dentist. If the pain increases or persists you should consult your dentist.

Contact our Melbourne clinic for more information on root canal treatments.

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