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What is a Root Canal
An RCT (root canal treatment) is performed to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or has become damaged and infected. Root canals are standard procedures and can help preserve your tooth from extraction.
During a root canal procedure, Dr Thakkar will remove the infected nerve and pulp, and the inside of the tooth structure is cleaned and shaped, and then seal the canal cavity by inserting fillers to prevent bacteria from re-entering the nerve system.
Though you may have heard or read a common myth, the goal of a root canal isn’t to cause you immense pain. Instead, the purpose of the procedure is to save your tooth from extraction.
Modern techniques and technology, have helped root canals evolve into relatively comfortable treatment.
Countless teeth are treated and saved this way each year hence there’s no need to be worried if Dr Thakkar prescribes you a root canal procedure to treat your damaged or diseased tooth.
What is an Endodontic treatment?
“odont” is a Greek word for “tooth” and Endo” for “inside” and by performing endodontic treatment, Dr Thakkar will be treating the inside of the tooth.
To understand endodontic treatment, let’s understand some basics of the tooth anatomy.
Signs & Symptoms that you may need Root canal Treatment
Signs and symptoms may include,
Some Patients may not exhibit symptoms at all, which is why regular dental check-up appointments, including X-rays are so vital to maintain good oral health.
A common cause of pulp damage is deep tooth decay, which enables the bacteria to reach the pulp. The pulp may then become inflamed, infected and sore. Infection may then over time spread through the opening at the tip of the root into the surrounding bone leading to pulp death, abscesses, bone loss and possible loss of the tooth itself.
- Traumatic blows to teeth following a bump or knock to the tooth.
- Bacterial leakage around old or loose fillings
- Advanced gum disease
- Excessive wear of teeth
- Habitual tooth grinding (Bruxism)
- Long-standing cracks in the teeth.
Signs and symptoms may include a hole in your tooth, cavities, toothache, rotten teeth, gum swelling, oozing of pus surrounding the affected tooth, abscess tooth, unprovoked or spontaneous aching, pain with biting or pressure, discolouration of tooth, loosening of the tooth, swelling around your face and neck, and temperature sensitivity. Any of those symptoms may indicate the need for root canal treatment.
Sometimes you may have no symptoms at all, which is why regular dental check-up appointments including X-rays are so important.
Root Canal Treatment Benefits
By removing the infected pulp, cleaning and shaping the root canals, Dr Thakkar relieves inflammation and pain, and the root canals are then sealed and filled. Post completion of endodontic treatment, Dental Crowns or other restoration are placed over the remaining tooth cusps to preserve and protect it. Post-restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.
It is a straightforward and pain-free procedure that offers many benefits, including:
- Relief of pain and discomfort
- Prevention of spread of infection
- A healthy restored tooth that can last a lifetime if properly cared for
- No interruption or changes to other teeth
- Normal biting and chewing sensation
You get to keep your natural smile!
The root canal treatment eliminates the pain caused by the tooth infection.
Endodontic treatment is a comfortable procedure, and it involves little or no pain. We will anaesthetise the tooth and surrounding area with local anaesthetic making the treatment painless.
Sometimes you may experience discomfort after an appointment due to inflammation of the tissues encompassing the tooth which may take a couple of days or a little more to settle down, and mild analgesics may be required.
However, if you experience severe pain, or if your discomfort lasts for more than a few days, please come for a review appointment, and we will take care of it.
If you are too concerned about the pain, we offer options for Happy Gas or Conscious Sedation.
Root Canal Procedure
A root canal is usually a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort. It involves two to three visits.
There is no need to be anxious if you need a root canal and you’ll see why here is a step-by-step guide to how the procedure saves your tooth.
For most patients, having a root canal treatment with the technology Dr Thakkar employs, it would be as unremarkable as getting a tooth filling.
A root canal is usually a simple procedure with little or no discomfort. It involves one to three visits.
There is no need to be anxious if you need a root canal and you’ll see why, here is a step-by-step guide to how the procedure saves your tooth
Root Canal Treatment - FAQ's ( Frequently Asked Questions )
Root canal treatment can usually take anywhere between an hour or an hour and a half. You may need two to three visits to complete the RCT. We also offer single visit RCT for particular root canals cases if conditions are appropriate.
Your infected tooth will not heal by itself, and If it is left untreated, the infection could lead to:
- Abscess Formation at the root of the tooth
- Deterioration of the underlying bone tissue
- Pain, bearable or unbearable.
- Tooth loss, leading to Tooth extraction.
The more you delay the treatment, the more difficult it will be to save your tooth. There is also an increased risk of the infection spreading to adjacent teeth, potentially leading to:
- Swelling of the Face
- Swelling of the Neck
Many Independent Studies in major Scientific Journals have shown the majority of endodontic treatments are uneventful and a success.
Dr Thakkar will only treat your tooth if there is a good chance that it will last a reasonably long time. However, people have varied healing responses, and some infections may respond differently.
Dr Thakkar will inform you if your case is considered riskier and less favourable.
Healing of the jawbone around the tooth can be slow, and it’s essential to have your tooth reviewed at regular intervals to assess success.
In rare cases, additional endodontic procedures may be required to aid the healing of the tissues around the tooth and Dr Thakkar will discuss this process with you if it becomes necessary and either treat it herself or refer you to a Specialist Endodontist.
About 90-95 % of patients who undergo root canal therapy can expect a useful tooth post the treatment and the tooth would last for a very long time, provided that you maintain good oral hygiene and look after your teeth. However, please note that no therapy or treatment will be as durable as a healthy tooth.
The primary risk is that the degree of decay in some of the canals which can go undetected and may surface later on, as continued decay and weakening of the tooth.
Despite acute care, some of the debris during drilling can unintentionally remain lodged within the root and may lead to future pain and discomfort.
In some cases, a repeated treatment might be required if,
an initially undetected diseased canal offshoots remain, or
in rare circumstances, if the treatment instrument fractures.
Root canal Retreatment is a procedure undertaken if the pain returns.
A root canal involves taking away the nourishing ability of a tooth and this leaves it more fragile and brittle thus appropriate care should be undertaken by maintaining good oral hygiene.
Root canals tend to have very high success rates in spite of the fact that it is quite an invasive procedure.
Even then, sometimes root canals don’t always go according to plan. Some complications can arise during or after a root canal procedure. While some of these problems can be anticipated, many can never indeed be predicted.
Luckily most root canal complications are rare and treatable.
Endodontic root canal treatment is very successful. Statistically, over 90%-95% of root treated teeth will be present in ten years, which is comparable or better than most alternatives.
Dr Thakkar carries out all RCT with a high technical standard and using state of the art equipment and technology.
However, not all treatments stay successful, and some teeth can become reinfected sooner or at a later date.
A failed root canal could have a different kind of bacterial infection (Enterococcus faecalis and other facultative enteric bacteria or Pseudomonas sp. ) as compared to a routinely infected tooth.
The most common reason for unsuccessful treatment early on could be due to persistent bacteria in the complex hidden anatomical features of tooth root such as additional canals, fins, isthmuses and lateral and accessory canals leading to inadequate chemomechanical debridement of the root canal.
Delayed or failure after several years could happen due to more bacteria entering the tooth from leaking fillings, secondary decay or crack.
Endodontic retreatment is technically demanding, and it can be a time-consuming procedure, as meticulous care is required.
Historically, it was assumed that a tooth with ‘failed’ root canal treatment would have a high risk of repeated failure and so they were often extracted instead of being retreated.
However, with newer techniques and with specialised tools used by Dr Thakka, it is now possible to deliver similar success rates as the initial treatment.
Endodontic treatment is a safe procedure, and it’s undertaken to save your tooth.
There is no real substitute for your tooth – it’s far more efficient in chewing and biting than an artificial tooth, say like dental Implants or Dental Crowns, which are an excellent substitute for missing or diseased teeth.
The only viable alternative of removing the infection is to extract your tooth, and then If you choose for any reason, financial or otherwise, not to have the tooth replaced with a Dental Implant, the adjacent or opposing teeth in the jaw may shift or protrude, interfering with regular functions like chewing and biting.
Tooth Loss may also lead to other complications including,
- Decay of other Teeth
- Jaw joint and Problems
- Jaw Muscle Problems
- Gum Disease
Although having your tooth pulled out may cost less initially, the space left will require a dental implant or a dental bridge to be fitted, which can eventually be more expensive than root canal treatment.
The much less preferred and ill-advised alternative is to leave the tooth untreated, however, please note that If the tooth is left untreated, then the infection may occur and may spread to the jaw while also increasing the chances of Pus buildup, Cysts & Pain.
There are significant factors to consider when deciding between root canal treatment and tooth extraction followed by replacement options including implants. Hence Dr Thakkar will have an extended consultation with you discussing benefits and risks of each treatment.
Statistically, over 90-95% of root treated teeth will be present in ten years, which is comparable or better than most alternatives. Dr Thakkar performs RCT to a high technical standard that ensures a high-quality restoration. Hence they are very successful and lead to excellent long-term outcomes.
With age, a person’s overall medical health may often deteriorate, and in some patients, ailments such as osteoporosis and diabetes may have an unfavourable impact on the long-term success of a Dental Implant.
Similarly, if you are a smoker or have periodontal disease, Dental Implants have a higher chance of failing than a root filled tooth.
Purely from a short-term economic perspective, root canal treatment and restoration of a tooth is in most cases more affordable and completed in a shorter period thus avoiding the need for patients to live without a tooth, or needing to wear dentures.
In recent years, a misconception has developed that implants have a ‘more predictable’ long-term outcome than root-filled teeth.
However, root canal treatment, re-treatment or endodontic microsurgery should always remain the first treatment choice for patients with a restorable tooth experiencing pulpal disease if the prognosis of the tooth is favourable.
Preventative dental check-ups and cleans are usually recommended before and during pregnancy to avoid more significant problems arising.
If they do occur though, it’s still safe to have root canal treatment carried out during pregnancy.
In fact, it can be more dangerous to leave infection in teeth untreated as complications like facial swellings and fever may develop.
Treatment in the second trimester is ideal. However, emergency treatment can be carried out at any stage to relieve your pain and to reduce the stress on yourself and the baby. We use an anaesthetic that is safe throughout pregnancy and with low dose digital radiographs and lead aprons, to minimise any risk to the baby.
It is necessary to take radiographs (x-rays) to check various treatment stages.
X-rays are taken to determine the root structure, the extent of infection and any signs of spread to the surrounding bones.
The root is embedded within and not visible to the naked eye and assistance of radiographs is vital.
At our clinic, we use advanced digital radiography to minimise radiation exposure.
In the healing period, biting and chewing should be limited to soft foods as the tooth is susceptible to fracture under heavy biting pressure, so it is essential to place a full restoration as soon as possible.
On your review appointment, additional radiographs would be taken to ensure that the healing is proceeding normally and infection has not returned.
Practicing good oral hygiene is essential, including thorough brushing, flossing followed with regular checkups and cleanings.
Endodontically treated teeth mostly last as long as natural teeth if proper care is taken.
In some cases, a treated tooth may not heal, or the pain may return, months or even years after successful treatment, however, a re-treatment procedure can save the tooth.
Yes, Dr Thakkar can treat most teeth.
Occasionally, she might not be able to save a tooth due to,
- inaccessible root canals,
- the root is severely fractured,
- the tooth doesn’t have adequate bone support,
- the tooth cannot be restored.
However, advances in endodontics are making it possible to save teeth.
When endodontic treatment is not sufficient, endodontic surgery may be able to save the tooth, and Dr Thakkar would refer you to a specialist Endodontist.
When adequately restored and well looked after, a tooth with a root canal filling can last for many years. But, like any other tooth, it can become decayed or fractured, or the tissue around it can get gum disease.
Good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular dental exams and professional dental cleaning will help keep your mouth healthy, whether you’ve had root canal treatment or not.
Yes, all dentists are trained to treat root canals, and Dr Alps Thakkar has long had particular interest and passion for root canal treatment. She keeps continuously abreast the latest technology and advancement in treatment procedures. Dr Thakkar can treat most cases; however, if the case is overly complicated, she may recommend that the procedure is performed by a specialist endodontist, and she would be happy to refer you to an experienced one who has the expertise for that particular complexity.
Teeth (Molars and premolars) that have had root canal therapy should be shielded with a crown that covers the cusps of the tooth as the access made into the root canal system removes a significant amount of tooth structure.
Anterior teeth usually do not require a full coverage restoration after a root canal treatment, unless there is extensive tooth loss from decay or for Aesthetics or abnormal occlusion.
Molars and premolars are the primary teeth used in chewing and will almost certainly fracture in the future without shielding the cusps.
The root canal may leak if the tooth is not perfectly sealed, causing eventual failure of the root canal. Also, contrary to a myth that once a patient has gotten a root canal treatment, the tooth cannot decay again, this is not a correct assumption. A tooth with a root canal treatment still can decay.
Without adequate fluoride source and proper home care and the tooth structure may become severely decayed (often without the patient’s knowledge since the nerve has been removed, leaving the tooth without any pain perception).
Thus, non-restorable destruction is the main reason for extraction of teeth after root canal therapy, accounting for extractions of these teeth.
Therefore, it is essential to have regular X-rays taken of the root canal to ensure that the tooth is not having any problems.
Root Canal Treatment Costs
No two cases are the same, your oral needs would be unique to you, and Dr Thakkar is committed to providing her clients with an accurate estimate of all treatment & procedure costs at the time of your first consultation.
We will assess the case at this visit, and we will discuss with you in detail the fees and number of visits required for your treatment, enabling you to make an informed decision on what’s best for you moving forward.
The cost varies depending on how complicated the problem is and which tooth is affected.
Please note that these fees are only preliminary estimates and do not include additional treatment like post & core build up to support your tooth crown foundation.
In addition to RCT, crown charges will be applicable.
If you have private health insurance extras cover, your health fund may provide a rebate for endodontic treatment as most dental insurance policies provide some coverage for endodontic treatment.
The Item numbers for your RCT are,
- 015 – Oral examination – extended
- 022 – Intraoral periapical or bitewing radiograph – per exposure
- 061 – Pulp testing – per visit
- 415 – Complete chemo-mechanical preparation of root canal – one canal
- 416 – Complete chemo-mechanical preparation of root canal – each additional canal
- 417 – Root canal obturation – one canal
- 418 – Root canal obturation – each additional canal
- 627 – Preliminary restoration for crown – direct