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Root Canal Treatments

Root Canal Therapy (Endodontic treatment): Why is RCT required?

Once the nerve inside the tooth dies off (because of deep decay, trauma, repeated filling, wear), the root canal system and the area of bone surrounding the end of the tooth may become infected. If this infection is not controlled by RCT, it may spread deeper into bone and eventually require extraction.

If a decision is taken to avoid an extraction and save a tooth by doing root canal therapy (RCT) the following needs consideration.

It can only be considered if it is believed that enough tooth remains after the RCT to place a restoration.

Procedure involves removing the diseased / dead pulp tissue from the inside of the tooth and shaping and preparing while cleaning and disinfecting the inside of the tooth’s root canal system. Finally the placement of an inert material having the properties of preventing pain and infection from recurring.

The procedure may be carried out painlessly under Local anaesthetic during an extended appointment.

The procedure is usually complete after 2-3 visits.

RCT involves the use of special Nickel-Titaniun instruments which are thrown away after single patient use.

During RCT, a substantial amount of tooth is unavoidably removed to carry this treatment out. Unfortunately this does render the tooth weaker. Therefore, after a RCT is complete, a crown is often required to strengthen and reinforce the tooth. Sometimes, a post is required to be placed into the root canal system if after the RCT process little tooth is remaining. Teeth go a little darker after having a RCT completed – A veneer is a relatively conservative procedure to mask this discolouration.

There is a good chance of success but this treatment is not always guaranteed. Success is dependent upon:

  • Size of the initial infection
  • Curvature / number of canals / blockages
  • If it is the first attempt or not of RCT
  • How the tooth is restored after the RCT