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Teeth are covered in hard enamel; under this is an inner layer called dentine, which makes up the bulk of the tooth and covers the soft tissues at the core of the tooth, called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels and nerves that nourish your teeth. Damage to your teeth caused by decay, cracks or trauma for example can allow the bacteria naturally present in your mouth to reach the pulp, often leading to inflammation and pain.
Such an infection of the pulp or roots of your teeth may be completely painless or may cause a range of symptoms, such as increased sensitivity to hot or cold, pain on biting, tooth discolouration or swelling. If left untreated, inflammation or infection of the pulp can cause severe pain or result in an abscess. In the worst cases, abscesses in and around your mouth can lead to your tooth needing to be extracted.
The process of root canal treatment normally involves making a small hole in your tooth to gain access to the affected pulp or bacteria within the root canals. This is carried out with the tooth isolated under a rubber sheet (called a rubber dam) and under local anaesthesia. Various forms of sedation can be provided to help nervous patients. The treatment is carried out with the aid of a specialised operating microscope to keep the hole as small as possible, and the goal is to clean and shape the root canals, all the way to the tip of the root and then fill the space to reduce the risk of bacteria getting in again. A temporary filling is placed on the top of the tooth (where the hole was made), and usually within weeks you will need to return to your general dentist to have a longer term filling or crown placed; the best way to restore your tooth is a very specific decision and should be discussed with you by your dentist – the best choice for each tooth will be different.
If you have been referred to us for root canal treatment, Somayeh will discuss with you all the details specifically relating to your tooth and will determine the best way to proceed with your treatment.
Get more information on our root canal treatment, by reading our brochure below.