Root canal treatment


Root canal treatment is a dental procedure to treat infection at the centre of a tooth (the root canal system). Root canal treatment is also called endodontics. The infection is caused by bacteria that live in the mouth and invade the tooth when tooth decay occurs, fillings leak or teeth are damaged by trauma. The root canal system contains the dental pulp and extends from the crown of the tooth to the end of the root. A single tooth can have more than one root canal. The pulp is made up of soft tissue that includes nerves and blood vessels. If bacteria infect the pulp, it will begin to die. After this, the bacteria can increase in number. The bacteria and the substances they release will eventually pass out of the end of the root canal through the small hole where the blood vessels and nerves enter (dental abscess). This process continues as there is nothing to stop more bacteria passing down the root canal, which causes the tissues around the end of the tooth to become red and swollen. This can cause your tooth to become painful and, in extreme circumstances, your face may become swollen. Although root canal treatment is available on the NHS, the constraints on budgets mean that the success rate is less than private endodontic treatment. Much more time and better equipment and materials are used in private endodontics, giving a higher success rate meaning you can keep your tooth for longer. In most cases, the best option is to place a crown on a root filled tooth, however this is not always the necessary.

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