Why do root canals take 2 visits?


Dental Concepts Blog

Why do root canals take 2 visits?

Did you know root canals take two or more dentist visits? That’s right, a root canal procedure may need additional care from your dentist for various reasons, this may be because you have an infected tooth root or perhaps there’s another canal which needs to be treated.

We’ll cover exactly why you need a second appointment for your root canal procedure in just a second, but firstly, what’s a root canal? A root canal procedure is required when the tooth pulp ( the centre of the tooth where you’ll find connective tissue and nerves) has become damaged by a bacterial infection. This often happens when there is decay of the outer part of the tooth, exposing the internal part of the tooth. How will you know you need a root canal? If you experience toothache when chewing or putting pressure on your tooth and notice a small hole or chip on it, it may be time to visit your dentist. X-rays will be taken of your teeth to assess whether the tooth pulp has been damaged and requires a root canal.

Put simply, a root canal procedure includes removing the infected pulp and replacing it with filler material. This is done by drilling a small opening in the top of the tooth to access the pulp. This will all be done under local anaesthetic, and whilst you may feel some off pressure, you should not feel any pain during the root canal procedure.

Here’s why your root canal procedure may be spread across two or more appointments.
  1. The tooth you’re having a root canal on has more roots. Some teeth such as molars have more roots than Your front incisor and canine teeth. Sometimes there is too much to extract and too many roots to treat in one sitting. In cases like this, your dentist will clear as much of the infected pulp as possible, disinfect the area and then place a temporary filling to seal the area until the next treatment.
  2. If the tooth is severely infected, it may take time to settle the infection before permanently sealing the tooth. In this case, your dentist will medicate the area to treat the infection and then continue the root canal until the infected pulp is cleared entirely.
  3. You have calcified canals. This may be a new term to you, calcified canals are when you have calcium deposits within the pulp of the tooth, this narrows the canal significantly and can make a root canal a more time-consuming task. The most common cause of calcification within the canal is trauma to the tooth pulp.
What can you expect during that second appointment?

In the first appointment your dentist will remove as much infected pulp as possible and they will seal the tooth with a temporary filling. In the second appointment, this temporary filling will be removed, and the rest of the root canal procedure will be completed. Once your dentist has finished removing infected pulp they will pack the canal to prevent further infection and seal the tooth with a dental crown or a permanent filling.

Does a root canal hurt?

Your root canal treatment should not hurt as you will be under local anaesthetic. Your dentist will ensure that you cannot feel anything before they start the treatment. As we mentioned before you may feel pressure within your tooth when your dentist is working but this should not be painful.

Root canal vs Extraction

A common question is what is the difference between a root canal and an extraction? The answer is simple, a root canal removes the damaged internal part of the tooth leaving you with your natural tooth without pain. An extraction removes the whole tooth structure because it is deemed that the tooth cannot be saved. Where possible it is great to opt for a root canal procedure to retain as many of your natural teeth as possible.

Can you expect pain after root canal treatment?

Minor pain after root canal treatment is not uncommon, as surrounding tissue may be inflamed from the treatment. It is unlikely that the internal part of your tooth will hurt after your root canal procedure as the part of the tooth which is causing you pain has been removed. The pain after root canal treatment should be easily managed with over the counter pain medication, however, if you are still experiencing pain a week after your treatment it’s time to get in touch with your dentist.

How much does a root canal cost?

This is a great question but will depend on whether you opt to have a private dentist or NHS dentistry. Some people qualify for free dentistry with the NHS, however, if you don’t the cost of root canal treatment with the NHS is £65.20. Privately, you could expect to pay from £350 for single or double rooted teeth. The quality of dental care provided by private practices far exceeds NHS services due to the range of treatments and materials available.

If you think you need a root canal we suggest getting in touch with your dentist to have the relevant diagnostics. Leaving an infected tooth can lead to abscesses and larger dental infections which can be hard to manage and can be extremely painful, so dealing with the situation early leaves you with more treatment options!

Want to book a free virtual consultation to discuss your needs? You can get booked in to speak to our Principal Dentist Dr Manish Chitnis by using the link below. https://dental-concepts.com/virtual-consultation-with-dr-manish-at-dental-concepts

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