Is having root-filled teeth removed necessarily the right decision?
Dentist Lucy Stock of Belfast, Ireland says people with root canal treatment are having their teeth removed.
Most root filled teeth heal and don’t give any more bother.
Root canal treatment techniques and the equipment used to do modern root canals have massively improved.
SHOULD I have all my root filled teeth removed? There’s a trend emerging for some people who are sceptical about having root canals done in their teeth to opt to have their teeth removed. The question is, is this the right decision?
There is a tube running inside a tooth which contains the nerve and blood vessels of the tooth. When a tooth gets banged or decay reaches the inner nerve canal tube, the nerve dies, the contents breakdown into pus and an abscess forms. A root canal is when a dentist cleans out the nerve tube and fills it up with hard rubber.
The nerve tube is not one straight tube, it’s more like the roots of a tree; with one main branch and then smaller branches coming off it. The shapes of root canals between people can differ widely. This is one reason that the results of root canal therapy differ between individuals.
One idea is that if the root canals are not cleaned perfectly then there is some residual infection around the root and this can spread around the body causing disease. This is indeed true and can happen. However, it’s important to put this into context – the vast majority of root filled teeth heal and don’t give any more bother.
On the internet, there are frequent references to studies done in the 1920s which back up having all root canal teeth removed. It’s critical to remember that root canal treatment techniques and the equipment used to do modern root canals have massively improved. It’s a bit like comparing the wooden operating theatres at the beginning of the 1900’s to the state of the art operating theatres that we now have in hospitals. Someone having an operation in the wooden theatre would have a different outcome to if they had their operation done today by surgeons with advanced knowledge.
It’s also overly simplified to suggest that if you have a root filled tooth out then that’s the end to your problems. When a tooth is lost other teeth move out of position and your bite can change. This can have a knock-on negative effect on your jaw joints, facial muscles and nerves. In severe cases this leads to long term, chronic facial pain.
With X-rays and 3d scans, root filled teeth can now be better evaluated for residual infection. There are new techniques that can surgically treat underlying infection and still keep the root filled tooth. So, each tooth is different, speak with your dentist if you have any concerns and they can advise you on the individual situation.
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Author: Lucy Stock
Article originally posted at: https://www.irishnews.com
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