What Is Endodontics?
Endodontics is the area of dentistry specialising in the treatment of the inside of a tooth (root canal) where the nerves and blood vessels are normally found. An Endodontic Specialist is a qualified dentist who has extensive training and expertise in the treatment of these problems.
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What does root canal treatment (RCT)involve?
Root canal treatment is an endodontic procedure that is carried out when the soft pulp tissue (nerve and blood vessels) becomes infected or dies. This infection may lead to inflammation or an abscess in the surrounding jawbone. Acute inflammation can result in pain and swelling at the end of the tooth root but many abscessed teeth remain pain-free and reveal no symptoms unless they flare up.
The Endodontist will gently remove the diseased pulp tissue and infection from the root canals, which will then be carefully cleaned and shaped prior to being sealed to prevent re-infection. Endodontic procedures are usually carried out using Local Anaesthetic, which is very effective and safe. We will always make sure you are comfortable during treatment and that the tooth is completely numb.
Endodontic treatment can be time-consuming, but is normally completed over one or two visits. For the first few days after treatment, there may be some sensitivity to biting pressure, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. Sometimes anti-inflammatory medications are recommended for a day or two.
Once your root filling is finished and a temporary filling placed, you will return to your general dentist. A crown or other restoration may be required on the tooth to protect it from fracture and restore it to full function. The tooth may be reviewed a few months after treatment to monitor healing of the inflamed tissues in the jaw bone.
What about cross-infection?
We adhere to the most rigorous standards of infection control advocated by the British Dental Association and Care Quality Commission. We utilize the latest ultrasonic cleaning baths, autoclave sterilization and barrier techniques to eliminate any risk of infection. Brand new root canal files are used for each case.
What happens after treatment?
When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to the dentist who referred you. You should contact them for a follow-up, as sometimes a new crown or cap will be needed to protect and restore the tooth. Your own dentist will normally decide on what type of restoration is necessary and provide this treatment.
It is unusual for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, however, we are always available.
My tooth has been root canal treated and it still hurts. Why?
It is normal for teeth to be sore for a few days after root canal treatment. Some teeth, particularly ones that have been problematic for a while, may take a few months to settle. This discomfort is normally from the inflamed supporting tissues.
You should not be getting any sensitivity from hot or cold stimuli. In a very small number of cases where the root canals are infected a ‘flare up’ may occur after initial treatment. This is because a small number of bacteria from the root canal have been pushed out of the end of the root canal. These bacteria will be very small in number, but if they are virulent enough can re-ignite inflammation around the root tip. Typically there will be pain and swelling that builds 24-48 hours after treatment. This problem is transient and is normally helped with a course of antibiotics. A flare-up will not affect the long term prognosis.
Meet the dentist
BDS(Lond), FDS RCS(Ed), MSc, MFGDP(UK), MRD RCS(Ed)
Specialist in Endodontics
John qualified from Kings College London in 1990, where he was awarded the Claudius Ash prize in Conservation and the Jose Souyave Endodontic prize. He continued his postgraduate education at Guy’s Hospital London where he achieved a Distinction in the Endodontic MSc. He completed his Specialist training at The Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh with MRD in Endodontics. John was awarded Fellowship in Dental Surgery from the Royal College of Edinburgh 2013. John is registered on the GDC Specialist list in Endodontics.