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          The Mysterious Root Canal Treatment

          Once in a while we have to perform a so-called root canal treatment and root filling on a tooth.

          There are several situations where we need to give a tooth a root canal treatment, but for some reason, many react with fear and apprehension when told that a root canal needs to be done.

          This may be a reaction that originates from previous experiences where the treating dentist hasn’t assured that the tooth is properly numbed up before starting the treatment, or it could simply be caused by horror stories by friends or family where someone has had a bad experience in the past.

          Doing a root canal treatment is actually a positive thing.

          To receive the information that a root canal treatment is needed is in a way a positive thing as it means that we can actually save and treat a tooth that might otherwise have needed an extraction.

          To be told that a root canal treatment is needed, is in a way, a positive thing as it means that we can actually save and treat a tooth that might otherwise have needed an extraction.

          When is root canal treatment recommended?

          A root canal treatment is needed if a tooth is infected or if the soft tissue inside it (the “nerve”) is heavily and irreversibly inflamed caused by, for example, a deep cavity or after a filling where a deep cavity was treated.

          There can sometimes also be deep hairline cracks caused by some form of trauma or simply an old amalgam (grey metal) filling that has become too compacted in time and actually caused the cracks.

          Occasionally, we have to do a root canal treatment on what we call ‘technical’ indication. This means that too much tooth substance has been lost due to cavities or fractures, and to be able to restore the tooth safely, we need to place a post in the root on which we then can attach a crown. The tooth may be fully sane and healthy inside, but we simply need the extra support from a post. The post is fitted or cemented into the root canal after the tooth has been root-filled.

          Root canal treatment

          A root canal treatment is not painful.

          For some reason, the root canal treatment has gained the undeserved reputation of being terrible, but in modern dentistry, this is no longer the case. With good modern anaesthetics, it is no worse than having a normal little filling done.

          We, of course, make sure that the tooth is fully numb just as we would for a normal filling, extraction or any other treatment that could otherwise be uncomfortable.

          The root canal treatment can be a bit time consuming, especially if it is a tooth with multiple roots and root canals. Every single root canal has to be properly cleaned up and shaped before we finally seal it, but the treatment should not be painful.

          Sometimes, if there is active infection in a tooth, we may have to place an antiseptic inlay in the canals to virtually sterilise the inside before we can seal it (make the final root filling). We then place a temporary filling in the tooth and complete the treatment a few days later - still without pain or discomfort.

          A root canal can actually save my tooth!

          If you are ever being told that one of your teeth needs a root canal treatment, don’t panic and think, “Oh no, how terrible,” but think instead, “Great, they can actually save my tooth!