Endodontic (root canal treatment) is required when the nerve inside a tooth dies. This can happen following trauma to a tooth or from tooth decay. This can sometimes happen following crown or bridgework.

A dead/dying nerve inside a tooth can lead to sensitivity with hot and cold and pain which can at times be severe. This can also lead to infection within the tooth which can spread to the supporting bone (dental abscess).

Root canal treatment involves removal of the nerve inside the tooth and cleaning and shaping of the root canal to allow the space inside the tooth to be blocked up (root canal filling or obturation) This procedure prevents further infection within the tooth.

Often root canal treatment is simple, particularly with front teeth where the root canal shapes can be simple. With multi rooted teeth the procedure can be more complex and referral to a specialist may be advised. The use of a microscope to magnify the root canals can increase the chance of success with root treatment.

Lee Valentine is a general dental practitioner with a special interest in root canal therapy. He uses an operating microscope during root canal treatment. Patients are often referred to him for advice and treatment from other Dentists.

Once root canal therapy is complete, the tooth will require restoration with, for example, a filling, an inlay or a crown. This should be carried out soon after root treatment to strengthen the tooth and help seal out bacteria.

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