Taking timely & decisive action once a nerve has begun to suffer damage is vital to prevent a tooth abscess developing. This bacteria-filled pocket of pus at the tip of the root is generally associated with moderate to severe pain, and in some cases with facial swelling.
The clinical team at Dame Street Dental are highly experienced in carrying out Root Canal procedures, using only the best in modern, high-tech equipment and techniques.Book online
Inside your tooth and its roots are canals which contain nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue – this is referred to as the pulp of the tooth. The pulp’s essential function is keeping your tooth alive, allowing you to feel sensations, and maintaining the strength and durability of your teeth by anchoring them firmly in your jaw.
The pulp of any tooth can become infected and inflamed when attacked by bacteria accessing the root due to injury or significant dental decay. Although for some patients this process can reach quite an advanced stage without alerting them by triggering any pain, in most cases the inflammation and infection of the pulp can be extremely painful. In either case, it is always best treated as soon as possible to avoid the formation of a potentially harmful dental abscess.
Root Canal Treatment involves removing the damaged and diseased pulp from within your tooth and its roots, followed by disinfection to kill any remaining bacteria, before filling and sealing the cleaned out tooth, preventing recurrence of any infection and further damage. Your tooth will begin to heal straight away after the disinfection stage has been carried out, meaning that you receive significant pain relief immediately following treatment.
A principal aim and value of our practice is to always maintain and preserve your natural tooth whenever possible. Root Canal Treatment is an entirely safe, effective procedure that enables us to save a tooth that will otherwise need to be extracted. This allows you to avoid the impact on your quality of life caused by losing a tooth, whereby even everyday tasks such as eating or speaking can become increasingly difficult.
Whether you book a consultation with Dame Street Dental Clinic because you are concerned about new sensitivity or tenderness of any of your teeth, sudden pain or a persistent toothache, or if your appointment is for a routine dental check-up – your dentist will carry out a comprehensive dental exam to detect the presence of any infection or inflammation, deep decay, problematic cavities, or other signs that the root of one of your teeth may already be infected by harmful bacteria.
If you are experiencing pain in a tooth, or there are signs of severe decay and inflammation, your dentist will first take a dental X-ray to assess the structures of your tooth and to confirm the presence of infection at the root. In some cases, our high-tech CT scanner is required to get a better visualisation of your tooth in full 3D prior to beginning treatment. Your dentist will then make an assessment of your tooth and the best recommendation for your treatment, and will be able to provide you with a detailed treatment plan, including a breakdown of the full estimated time until completion, options for the restoration of your tooth following the root canal treatment, and the costs of the treatment and restorations following.
We will proceed with scheduling the first stage of your Root Canal Treatment only once you have been able to discuss your treatment plan with your dentist, and have had all of your questions or concerns addressed. In some situations this can be arranged for the same day as your initial consultation if necessary and dependent on availability.
Using a highly effective local anaesthetic your dentist will numb your mouth so that you do not feel any pain throughout the procedure. This first stage of your root canal treatment involves a small hole being made into the top of the affected tooth, for your dentist to gain access to the infection in your nerve.
Then, the infected nerve and pulp is carefully and meticulously removed and the inner structure of the tooth shaped in an intricate procedure using specialised dental files. This is followed by a disinfecting agent to wash away any remaining pulp and sterilise the site. We use the most modern and innovative dental equipment to ensure you get the most out of your treatment, and the accuracy of your Root Canal Treatment is ensured by your dentist’s use of an operatory microscope throughout this stage. This highly technical initial stage may take some time, as your dentist ensures your tooth is completely cleaned and all infection has been removed, encouraging your tooth’s natural healing process to begin straight away. In limited rare cases, the infected tip of the root itself needs to be removed surgically, in a procedure known as an apicectomy.
Once your tooth has been completely cleaned, sterilised, and dried, the root is filled in with a rubber-like material. This acts as a replacement for the pulp and seals off the inner tooth structure to prevent reinfection of the root.
Your dentist at this stage will usually fill a semi-permanent restoration in place, to protect the interior while it heals and to maintain the appearance of your overall smile, while your tooth is healing and prior to having your long-term dental crown fitted.
In some situations, both the initial and final phases of your treatment can be completed in a single visit, depending on the size of the affected tooth and the degree of infection. Larger molar or back teeth usually take more time to completely clean, and will generally always require two visits to fully remove the pulp and disinfect.
If your dentist schedules you to return to the clinic to continue your treatment following the first stage, it is essential to return for this second appointment to complete your full root canal. Following the first stage, your infected root pulp will have been removed which will in the vast majority of cases have already relieved any pain you were experiencing. It is still vital to return for this final visit, as without completing the second stage of your treatment you risk reinfection of your tooth, jeopardising its long-term health and the overall condition of your mouth, particularly in the neighbouring teeth.
Restoring your Root Canal Treated Tooth
Root Canal Treatment involves drilling into the tooth and removing the infected and damaged nerve tissue within it, this leaves the remaining outer tooth structure much weaker than before. In order to reinforce your tooth and prevent the risk of catastrophic fracture or failure, - which can ultimately result in the loss of the tooth - your dentist will assess your case both during your initial consultation and taking your finished root canal results into account, and will recommend the restoration option best suited to your situation.
Restoration of your root canal-treated tooth can range from a regular cavity-Filling material being used for small to moderate cavities involving limited damage to the nerve, to more severe cases involving broad infection of the nerve and the removal of a significant amount of pulp and interior tooth structure, which often necessitate the more robust restorative solutions of a Dental Crown or Onlay.
It is typically more common following Root Canal Treatment of the back teeth for restoration with a Crown to be recommended, due to the tremendous forces your back teeth are subjected to when eating which they must be able to withstand. In certain cases where the tooth is quite badly broken down by decay, and there is not enough natural structure remaining to successfully bond a crown to the tooth, your dentist will first need to place a small ‘post’ into the root, around which an artificial tooth structure can be built up, in a simple procedure known as Post and Core.
While a conventional white Filling may suffice for only mildly damaged teeth, including in some cases the front teeth which are less intensely involved in biting functions, root canal-treated teeth are also prone to discolouration. This is due to the removal of the dead blood vessels and nerves within the root, which can cause the root itself to turn a dark brown colour, which can frequently stain the exterior of the tooth. For this reason, your dentist may recommend further restoration of a prominently positioned or front tooth following completion of your root canal treatment, either similarly with a Dental Crown, or if more appropriate to your case a Veneer or even undergoing a Tooth Whitening treatment.
At your initial consultation, your dentist will discuss in detail all of the above restoration options post-Root Canal Treatment, to ensure that you are able to make a fully informed decision regarding your treatment and that you receive the best fit for your lifestyle, your budget, and your oral health and welfare now and into the future.
When the pulp of your tooth becomes exposed to bacteria and plaque, whether through dental injury or trauma or significant decay causing a deep cavity, the pulp will become infected. This can cause severe pain, or worse, can lead to the formation of a dental abscess which has the potential to spread and cause more severe illness.
Having a Root Canal Treatment will remove all the infection from your tooth by replacing the decayed and dying nerves, blood vessels, and tissues of the interior of your tooth with a synthetic dental sealant, relieving any pain or sensitivity and preventing the risk of the infection spreading – all while saving your natural tooth and avoiding the need for it to be removed.
Prevention of the need for a root canal treatment in the future lies in safeguarding the interior structures of your tooth from bacterial infection. Bacteria can infect your tooth pulp and root via:
Root Canal Treatment has gained something of a reputation, largely due to pop cultural jokes and references dating back to an early period in modern dentistry, but nowadays they really aren’t all cause for concern.
Infection of the nerve can naturally make your tooth extremely sensitive, but our dentists will ensure that you are completely numb with our highly effective local anaesthetic prior to beginning any treatment. Root Canal Treatment is also one of the only dental treatments where the healing process begins right away. Often patients will be in severe pain when they attend for their first appointment, and as the treatment goes on will notice a significant improvement in symptoms, as the infected tissues and pulp are removed. As with any dental procedure, it is normal to feel some tenderness at the site following treatment. This rarely lasts for more than a few days and can be easily relieved with over-the-counter painkillers as needed.
However, we do offer further procedure options at Dame Street Dental for patients who for any reason cannot undergo dental treatment under anaesthetic alone. If you are a nervous patient we can provide this procedure - indeed all of our treatments - under dental sedation. This is the ideal solution for patients who suffer from dental anxiety, as while you will be conscious during your procedure to respond to questions and direction from your dentist, the sedation will put you into a completely relaxed and calm state, making for a fully stress-free and pleasant experience. This option is also popular with patients who have been putting off Root Canal Treatment they know they need due to fear or anxiety around dental procedures.
The length of your treatment will depend on the complexity of the internal anatomy of your tooth, and in some cases the size (as with larger back teeth such as molars). In some cases, your treatment can be started and completed in a single visit – your dentist will ensure you are scheduled in for a second appointment if one is required, before you leave the clinic after your initial treatment visit. They will also be able to give you an estimation of total treatment time at this first visit.
At Dame Street Dental we are proud to be the only practice in Ireland to offer you a full guarantee for 20 years of your root canal-treated tooth.
As with all dental treatment, to get the most from your intervention into the preservation of your tooth and to prolong the lifespan of your treatment and any restoration placed, it is essential that you maintain regular 6-monthly dental hygiene visits and check-ups with your dentist. Making that commitment to excellent oral health habits, including keeping up a consistent and thorough dental hygiene routine at home, involving brushing twice per day, flossing daily and limiting your intake of sugar, is essential to reducing your risk of recurrent plaque build-up and safeguarding your overall oral health.
You can expect to experience some mild discomfort and tenderness in the days after your Root Canal Treatment. This can be effectively managed with over-the-counter pain medication in the majority of patients and will resolve in a matter of days at most. Feel free to speak with your treating dentist if this is something you are concerned about.
In less than 5% of cases, your tooth or gums may become swollen for about a week following treatment. This is an unpredictable but exceedingly rare side effect, linked to the healing process of the root, and is nothing to be worried about, as it does not affect the final results and outcome of your root canal treatment in any way.
When a damaged or deeply decayed tooth requires Root Canal Treatment, it is because the pulp within the tooth is in the process of dying or indeed has already died. It is actually this process which causes the sensitivity or pain induced by an infection of the root. The aim of treatment is to remove all traces of dead and infected pulp tissues from within your tooth and so entirely sterilise your inner tooth structures of all harmful bacteria.
As a result, your tooth may feel slightly different after treatment is complete until you become used to the new sensation because while your exterior tooth structure is preserved, the nerves within your tooth which could feel cold and pressure are no longer present.
At Dame Street Dental we understand the importance of preserving the unique function, feel, and quality of a natural tooth, and we know that it is always best to maintain a patient’s natural teeth whenever possible.
When the pulp within your tooth begins to die, the only options remaining are a Root Canal Treatment or Tooth Extraction. If an infection is very far along or the tooth is irreparably damaged, a root canal treatment will in uncommon cases not be possible to complete, in which case your dentist will discuss your options for extraction with you.
A Root Canal Treatment, carried out by a skilled and experienced dentist, conserves as much of your original tooth structure as possible, maintaining your individual smile and preserving your natural jawbone. Under these conditions, as found at Dame Street Dental’s modern, specialised practice, this treatment has a success rate of approximately 95%, and if in the rare case it fails as medical procedures unfortunately can at times, you will always have other options to fall back on.
Having a tooth extracted has the potential to cause more harm, expense, or both in the long run. A missing tooth means that chewing can become difficult, your natural bone level will recede as there is no root in position - which can gradually change your facial structure, and this gap evident in your smile can affect confidence or self-esteem in the immediate aftermath of an extraction and over time.
That being said there are many effective options to replace a space in your smile such as Dental Implants, Bridges, or Dentures. Any patients who have opted to avoid root canal treatment due to its relative cost in comparison with tooth extraction, would be advised at the treatment planning stage with their dentist of the breakdown of total costs for these restoration options also.
As with all procedures, at Dame Street Dental your dentist will be able to provide you with the best advice for your specific situation, working in partnership with you and looking at your full treatment and smile goals at once, never thinking just one stage at a time. We make sure you are never in the dark regarding your dental care and full range of options, and are always provided with the information and expert recommendations you need to make informed decisions to achieve results you’re happy with.
Your dentist will not recommend Root Canal Treatment to you unless it is completely necessary to prolong the life of your tooth. Even if you are not currently experiencing any pain, once an infection of your root and nerve has been identified it is best to have your Root Canal Treatment completed as soon as possible.
Infection of the root cannot be reversed, and it is inevitable that the tooth which is harbouring that infection will flare up at some stage, causing greater problems down the line the longer it is delayed. This unchecked infection also poses a risk to your general health and other bodily systems which can be very dangerous, as infection can spread from your root via blood circulation.
No two situations or patients are ever identical, and therefore you should always be guided by the advice of your dentist, who has carried out your treatment following a comprehensive examination and analysis of your mouth, tooth damage and placement and root structure, and is best placed to advise you specifically for your own situation. Your dentist will only recommend a Crown following your root canal treatment if that restoration is necessary and offers you the best protection and reinforcement of your natural tooth structure and safeguarding of your overall oral health, and other restoration options are available for your tooth if those are appropriate to your case.
In the vast majority of cases if you have had Root Canal Treatment on a back tooth your dentist will recommend either a dental Onlay or Crown following treatment. Root canal-treated teeth are significantly weaker than other teeth, as the living part of the tooth (the pulp) has been removed. Reinforcement with an onlay or crown will greatly reduce the risk of catastrophic tooth fracture and failure, which is particularly important to consider for the back teeth, where the greatest pressure and external forces are consistently applied to the teeth due to daily heavy-duty chewing.
No, Root Canal Treatment is a highly researched treatment that has been carried out successfully for many years, with a vast accumulated body of practice worldwide. It is a highly effective, safe way to remove infection of the root and pulp of a tooth while allowing you to keep your natural tooth and avoid extraction.
Teeth that have undergone Root Canal Treatment can sometimes appear darker than your other teeth. This is due to the previous disease process which originally caused your pulp to become infected, which makes root canal-treated teeth prone to discolouration.
If this does happen to you, your dentist can recommend specialised internal Whitening procedures. If your tooth is more severely stained following your treatment, there are a number of cosmetic options, including full Dental Crowns, which will strengthen your tooth in addition to restoring its beautiful, natural whiteness, or Veneers, which are thin, colour-matched cosmetic layers which can be placed on the front of your tooth to instantly improve the appearance.
Root Canal Treatment is a tried and tested staple of modern dental care, and is successful in over 95% of all cases. On the rare occasion that a tooth doesn’t settle correctly after treatment, you may require either Root Canal Retreatment or your dentist may need to remove the infected nerve tip entirely by a surgical procedure known as an Apicectomy. This is very rare indeed but even if this procedure is called for, your natural tooth can still generally be preserved, and extraction of the tooth avoided.
At Dame Street Dental our dentists are experts in emergency dentistry and pain management – using innovative techniques in a clinic that places patient care at the heart of its values. You will be in the safest, most competent hands throughout your treatment.
We use cutting-edge technology to guarantee the success of your Root Canal Treatment. Your dentist will be able to employ a CBCT scan on-site if necessary, to get a more detailed picture of your tooth and internal structures, which will greatly aid in the accurate advance planning of your treatment. We also use an operative microscope to aid in the intricate process of cleaning and disinfecting your tooth to ensure the removal of all bacteria and its full sterilisation.
We are also the only dentists in Ireland to fully guarantee your root canal-treated tooth for 20 years after your procedure.
At Dame Street Dental, the total cost of Root Canal Treatment starts at €490. This price reflects which tooth needs to be repaired and the position of the affected tooth, and whether or not your treatment is completed by our highly qualified root canal specialist.
Your dentist will be happy to discuss the cost for your individual case and a detailed breakdown of your treatment plan, including a full itemisation of the costs of both the initial treatment and your restoration options. At Dame Street Dental we offer multiple payment plans to suit all treatment needs, lifestyles and budgets. One of our available plans allows you to pay for your treatment monthly, with absolutely no down payment required and at 0% interest!
Suffering from severe tooth decay or a new or recurrent toothache, or concerned you may be dealing with an infection?