Why has your dentist referred you?
Root canal treatment (particularly retreatment) can be a complex and demanding procedure. Your dentist has decided that it is in your best interest to have your endodontic treatment carried out by an endodontist who has the expertise and equipment necessary to carry out these procedures to a high standard.
How is the treatment carried out?
The aim of the treatment is to remove bacteria and infected contents of the root canals to allow thorough cleaning. Once achieved the root canals are filled and sealed.
Is treatment painful?
No. To ensure your comfort throughout the procedure local anaesthetic is used, to numb the tooth. Following treatment the tooth may feel tender for a few days. This can normally be relieved with painkillers.
How long does the treatment take?
This will vary with the complexity of the case and any problems that are encountered. To achieve success it is important that the procedure is not rushed. For a back tooth a one and a half hour appointment is usually required on the first visit, further time required can be gauged at the end of this appointment. Sometimes treatment can be completed in a single visit.
What is the likelihood of success?
With the use of modern techniques and a microscope root canal treatment and retreatment have a very high success rate. However, it is impossible to guarantee the success of any medical procedure. Even with the best treatment healing may not occur due to circumstances beyond the control of the dentist. Should this be the case further treatment may be required to eradicate the infection.
What happens after root canal treatment?
Treatment may weaken the tooth and it is essential that you return to your dentist so the tooth can be properly restored to prevent fracture. For a back tooth where appropriate a crown is often necessary. Your treatment will be followed and reviewed on a regular basis to monitor healing of the tooth.
What are the alternatives?
If root canal treatment is not carried out the tooth should be extracted to eliminate the infection and prevent abscess and pain. You may discuss potential replacement options with your dentist.