Root Canal Treatment Fact Sheet – Part 2

This is Part 2 of the Root Canal Treatment Fact Sheet. In Root Canal Treatment Fact Sheet – Part 1 we covered

  • Root canal therapy
  • Why is root canal therapy necessary?
  • What are the alternatives to root canal therapy?
  • The treatment

Deciding on treatment

Root canal therapy is often the only way to repair your tooth when the pulp has been severely damaged.  The success of root canal depends on a number of different factors and can vary considerably.  For example the success rate of a first time root canal treatment is up to 98%; whereas if the root canal treatment has been carried out before the success rate is less than 80%.

Complications are unexpected problems that can occur during or after the procedure.  Most people are not affected and they are quite rare.

In rare circumstances the complications of root canal therapy include:

  • It is possible for a bit of an instrument to break in your root canal.  Since we use new instruments for each patient and they are used only once, the chances of this occurring are very slim.  In most cases it can be taken out again or bypassed.  The files are titanium based (inert metal, like any implant material) and they do not have any side effects if left in your tooth.
  • Infection due to a canal not being cleaned or filled at all due to complex anatomy.
  • Certain bacteria may not respond to root canal therapy, so it may fail.

What to expect after root canal therapy

If you are being treated over more than one visit, it is advisable that you avoid chewing or biting down on the tooth, especially on hard foods, until your treatment has been completed.

When your treatment is finished you should not feel any pain in your tooth but it may feel quite sore as if it is bruised for a couple of weeks or even start to be uncomfortable after several days.  Painkillers such as those you would normally take for a headache should relieve any discomfort.  Alternating Ibuprofen (400 mg) with Paracetamol (1g) every 4 hours is usually very effective.  The intensity of the discomfort should start to decrease.  Please ensure that you arrange a follow-up appointment with your dentist in order to replace the top temporary dressing with a new filling or a crown on the tooth.  Failure to seal the tooth permanently in time could jeopardise the success of your root canal treatment.  If you feel that your post-treatment discomfort is increasing or you notice a swelling of the area, please do not hesitate to contact the surgery for advice.

If you follow the recommended instructions and look after the tooth along with the other teeth, a root filled tooth should continue to function very well for many years.

I hope this explanation has sufficiently answered most of your questions.  If you like more information or would like to discuss any issues further please contact the surgery and we will try our best to assist you with your enquiry.

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