Root Canals

Root canal treatment is recommended when the blood or nerve supply (known as the pulp) becomes infected. All teeth have a root, some have more than one, and within each root there is a root canal system. These canals run through the soft interior tissue of your tooth and are filled with tiny blood veins and nerve endings. If the integrity of the tooth is compromised by tooth decay, leaking fillings or inner trauma from a fall or other injury, bacteria that naturally live in your mouth will invade this vulnerable canal system.

When this bacterial infection reaches the pulp, it can spread through and down the root canal system of the tooth, which can lead to an abscess. Quick diagnosis and root canal treatment can save the tooth and stop the infection, avoiding the need to extract the tooth.    

Root canal treatments are a delicate process that requires the exacting skills of a dentist with endodontic training and experience. Colney Hatch Dental is proud to possess a dentist team with the high quality skills and experience necessary to successfully perform the intricacies involved in root canal treatments.   

The goal of root canal treatment is to remove all infection from the root canal, clean the canal, and then fill it to prevent re-infection. There are several steps to the treatment and some may need to be repeated if multiple roots and their canal systems are infected: 

  • Preparation - x-rays of the affected tooth are taken to build the most concise view of the root canal and the extent of infection damage.
  • Anaesthesia - local anaesthesia is normally adequate; but your dentist will not take any treatment actions until it is certain that your tooth is totally de-sensitized.
  • A rubber sheet, called a dam, is placed around your tooth to keep it dry during the treatment. It also protects you from breathing in or swallowing any chemicals used in the treatment.
  • Now that your tooth is numb and the protective dam is in place, the dentist will open the top of your tooth in order to access the pulp, which is at the centre of your tooth.
  • With extreme care, your dentist will remove any infected pulp and will also drain any abscesses that exist.
  • Once all the infected pulp is removed, your dentist will gently enlarge the root canals using a series of small files. This step of your root canal treatment is the most time-consuming, as it is meticulous work. If you have multiple infected root canal systems, it may need to be scheduled over more than one appointment. If this is necessary, your dentist will ensure that your tooth is protected and you are without pain while awaiting your next appointment.
  • Once the root canals have been enlarged, your dentist will fill and seal the canal and your tooth, preventing re-infection.

Teeth that have had root canal treatment are more likely to break, so depending on your particular case, your dentist may recommend placing a full crown to protect and strengthen your tooth.

Once your root canal treatment is complete, your dentist will discuss the things you can do to keep your restored tooth healthy for a long time. Successful retention of your root-filled tooth depends upon how much of your natural tooth remains, maintaining good oral hygiene, and being mindful of excessive bite forces on your tooth.