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Root canal treatment involves removing infected tissue from your tooth, cleaning it and then filling it to prevent further damage or infection. Root canal treatment can save a tooth that would otherwise have to be taken out.
The pulp in your tooth can become infected with bacteria if your tooth becomes damaged. This can happen in a number of ways. These include:
severe tooth decay
an injury, such as a blow to your mouth
cracked or loose fillings, or repeated fillings in your tooth
The aim of root canal treatment is to remove the damaged pulp and the bacteria that are causing the infection.
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Is it painful?
No. Local anaesthesia is used throughout the procedure, and every possible step is taken to ensure that you are comfortable while the work is carried out. On very rare occasions some teeth are particularly sensitive, however, a number of techniques are available to enable even these teeth to be tackled.
How long does it take?
This can vary according to the complexity of the root canals, the presence of infection, or if re-treatment is being carried out. Sometimes treatment can be carried out in one session lasting between one to two hours. If the canals are infected or are being retreated it is usually necessary to place an antibacterial dressing in the tooth, which is sealed in for a period of a couple of weeks and bring you back for a further appointment.
Is success guaranteed?
Root canal treatment does enjoy a high level of success. However, it should be remembered that it is impossible to guarantee the success of any medical procedure. Even with the very best treatment healing may not occur due to circumstances beyond the control of the dentist.