Endodontic treatment is also known as root canal treatment.
Inside the tooth’s hard outer layers, there is an area called the pulp or nerve. This can become damaged due to decay, deep cavities or injury. The damage usually results in painful inflammation or infection of the pulp. When this occurs, root canal treatment is the only way of saving the tooth and permanently relieving pain and infection.
Root canal treatment involves cleaning the infected or damaged pulp tissue from inside the tooth and replacing it with a permanent filling material called gutta percha. The treatment can often be done in one session, or occasionally multiple visits.
There are some scenarios where a general dentist may struggle to complete root canal treatment or their treatment may be unsuccessful (infection remains). These include:
- Blocked root canals
- Curved root canals
- Unable to locate root canals
- Instruments breaking within the root canal
- Root damage during treatment
- Unexplained pain
In these scenarios your dentist may refer you to a Specialist Endodontist who is a an expert in root canal treatment. At Oaktree, Dr Kreena Patel is our specialist endodontist who accepts referrals from practices all over the south east of England.
She has completed a 3-year Master’s degree (MClinDent Endo) in Endodontics at Kings College London and published prominent research in the worlds leading endodontic journals. Kreena now also teaches on the specialisation degree at Guy’s Hospital London.
Endodontic treatment carried out at Oaktree Dental is completed using a surgical microscope, which allows for superior visualisation of the small root canals and more optimal cleaning. Often there are ‘additional’ root canals which are found using a microscope and these are all sources of bacteria which could lead to future infections or failed treatment if not found.
Endodontic treatment has a high success rate. It is also usually more cost-effective than having the tooth extracted and replaced with an artificial tooth. Even if previous root canal has failed , it is possible in many cases to re-do the treatment with a successful outcome, rather than having the tooth extracted. It is often thought that it is simple to replace teeth with the increasingly popular dental implants, but one must bear in mind that these do not have a 100% success rate, have a limited life span, never feel as good as a natural tooth and are more expensive than saving the original tooth.
After the root canal treatment, you will be referred back to your dentist for a crown to protect the tooth if necessary.
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