Root – filling a tooth is a method of resolving pain or infection that may originate from the nerve inside it having become inflamed or septic.
The commonest cause of this is where decay has penetrated deep within the tooth, although sometimes the condition of the nerve can deteriorate years after the tooth has been treated successfully.
If the nerve has become exposed as a result of an accident to the mouth a root – filling might also be required prior to reconstruction. The treatment involves physically cleaning and disinfecting the root canal system within the tooth, most of which is done with simple hand instruments. A normal local anaesthetic is used to ensure that this is a comfortable procedure. The tooth may also need to be isolated from the rest of the teeth with a special latex barrier to assist in keeping the inside of the tooth free of germs.
X-rays are usually needed to confirm the configuration and length of the roots prior to filling all the canals with a material called ‘gutta percha’ combined with a sealant paste.
We would normally expect to complete the treatment in one single visit but this may depend on the anatomy of the tooth and the prevailing conditions at the time.
The overall time will also vary according to how many roots and root canals the tooth has and the degree of complexity in cleaning each canal.
On completion of the root – filling the tooth may need a conventional filling or a crown to restore it to normal function and appearance, depending on how strong the tooth is.
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