Root Canal Therapy

At Mckenzies Dental Surgery in Kent we will always endeavour to save your teeth rather than remove them, because natural teeth are best. The loss of even one tooth can have a detrimental effect on your mouth and can lead to your other teeth drifting into the gap, which can cause problems with your bite.

One of the ways we can prevent the loss of a tooth is with root canal treatment. Treatment involves the removal of the pulp tissues from the centre of your tooth in the event that this becomes infected or inflamed. A root canal treated tooth can function normally and can be maintained with routine dental care and oral hygiene measures.

Signs of pulp damage may include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, swelling, tenderness of the overlying gums or a bad taste in the mouth. On the other hand, there may be no symptoms at all. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can eventually cause pain, swelling and loss of the supporting bone.

Root canal treatment procedures are relatively comfortable and often painless as the tooth is anaesthetised during treatment. After treatment, the tooth may be sensitive or tender for a few days due to inflammation of the surrounding tissues. Taking over-the-counter painkillers can relieve this discomfort. However, if the pain persists and is severe, or a swelling occurs, you should contact us immediately.

What does root canal treatment involve?

  • The infected pulp is removed under a local anaesthetic and root canals are flushed with an anti-bacterial solution.
  • The freshly cleaned root canals are then filled to seal the tooth and prevent any bacteria from getting in.
  • The filled root canal is sealed with a permanent filling or crown to help restore tooth shape and functionality.

How long does it take?

Treatment usually requires several appointments and will depend on the type of tooth being treated. Front teeth are quicker to treat as they have just one root canal, but back teeth can have up to four so they will take longer. Appointments are normally spaced over weekly intervals and in between these, the tooth is covered and temporarily restored.

Does it hurt?

Root canal treatment may sound like a drastic and therefore painful procedure but don’t worry, we use a local anaesthetic to numb the tooth so it feels similar to having a filling.

Post treatment tips

  • Try not to bite down too hard on the tooth during or immediately after treatment
  • Keep your teeth nice and clean
  • Some discomfort after treatment can be expected
  • Contact us right away if you develop any of the following:
    • a visible swelling inside or outside of your mouth;
    • an allergic reaction to medication, including rash, hives or itching
    • a return of original symptoms; or
    • your bite feels uneven.

If looked after properly your root canal treated tooth will just keep on going with no need to have it redone. Even though the pulp has been removed, the tooth will stay intact because the canals are sealed and re-infection prevented.