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Root Canal Treatment

Root Canal Treatment

Root CanalRoot canal treatment or endodontics is needed when the blood and nerve supply of the tooth (known as the pulp) is infected through decay or injury. You may not feel any pain in the early stages of the infection. In some cases your tooth could darken in colour which may mean that the nerve of the tooth is dead. Infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth. This can eventually lead to an abscess. An abscess is an inflamed area in which pus collects and causes swelling of the tissues around the tooth. The symptoms of an abscess can range from dull ache to severe pain and the tooth may be very tender when you bite. If root canal treatment (RCT) is not carried out, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be extracted.

Root canal  treatment removes all infection from the root system of the tooth. Most root treatments involve at least two visits to your dentist. At the first appointment, the infected nerve tissue is removed and the tooth dressed. This usually alleviates any pain from the tooth. On the second visit the root canal is cleaned, disinfected, shaped, measured and filled to prevent any further infection. Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure and this is reflected in the cost of treatment. It is always quicker, easier and cheaper to extract the tooth but this is rarely the preferred option.   


Will it hurt? As long as the tooth is properly anaesthetized it should not be sore at all. Root canal treatment should be thought of as a complicated filling. No more than that.  However a severely infected tooth can be difficult to numb up completely so a course of antibiotics is often prescribed first, and later when the tooth has completely settled it can be comfortably treated.

I had a filling done recently and now I need a root canal treatment . Why ?Sometimes when the dentist removes the damaged or decayed part of the tooth he is working close to the nerve. It is often unavoidable that this is damaged. Usually it is carefully dressed and sealed  and can settle down but often an infection brews under the new filling and a few weeks later develops into severe pain,  leading to an abscess.

Is Root Canal Treatment guaranteed to work? About 95% of all root canal treatments are completely successful and never give trouble again. There is a small but significant failure rate with root canal treatment as the work involved is quite complex and resistant infections complicated root canal systems or instrument fracture may mitigate against a successful procedure. But this is not at all the norm.

Will the tooth need any further treatment after the nerve has been treated? Often a tooth changes colour when it has been root filled. If this is towards the front of the mouth you may prefer to have the tooth crowned to restore its colour and to improve the strength of the tooth. If the tooth is heavily filled it may require crowning at some stage following root treatment. It is good practice to allow the root treatment to settle for a couple for a couple of months or so before crowning the tooth.

What does root canal cost? A molar root usually has three canals (sometimes four) and costs €560.  Premolars €420 and anterior single rooted teeth €320. This does NOT INCLUDE the covering filling. This is tax allowable.

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