Root Canal FAQs
- What is a root canal?
- Are root canals dangerous?
- How long does it take a root canal to heal?
- What happens if root canal filling comes out?
- Can you sue a dentist for a bad root canal?
What is a root canal?
Root canal treatment, also known as endodontics, is a procedure used by dentists to treat an infection in the root canal system, at the centre of the tooth. An infection in the root canal could be caused by several different things, including tooth decay, leaky fillings or trauma damage (such as a fall or another kind of facial injury).
You will need to undergo root canal treatment if dental x-rays show that the pulp (the soft centre) of the tooth has been damaged by a bacterial infection. If left untreated, the pulp tissue will begin to die and the infection can spread from to the wider root canal system, which leads to sensitivity when eating or drinking to throbbing pain, swollen gums, tooth discolouration and, in extreme cases, pus being released from the infected area, facial swelling and teeth becoming loose.
To treat a root canal infection, there are two options:
- Option 1 is to remove the bacteria from the root canal system through (a root canal procedure, then seal the tooth with a filling or crown)
- Option 2 is to extract the tooth.
Despite it being a bacterial infection, a root canal cannot be treated with antibiotics. Generally, extraction is considered a last resort option, so most patients opt for root canal treatment to resolve the issue.
Are root canals dangerous?
A root canal is a routine procedure and is not considered dangerous. However, as with any kind of procedure, a root canal treatment does carry risks. Typically, a local anaesthetic is used as it can be a painful treatment. 9 out 10 treatments go off without a hitch, but problems can occasionally happen; however, they are usually minor and are treatable. The risks involved in undertaking a root canal procedure include:
- Pain: It is not too unusual to experience pain in the days that follow the procedure. If the root canal has not been fully cleaned then bacteria can grow and pain can worsen. If this happens, contact your dentist straight away
- If you have more than one infected root canal and the additional problem is missed, it can cause further bacterial growth and lead to further treatment being required
- Crack in the root: if your dentist does not spot that there is crack in your root, it can be a way in for more bacteria and you may have to undergo further treatment
- Using defective materials: if the inner seal that is used during a root canal treatment fails, it can lead to reinfection.
How long does a root canal take to heal?
As with any dental treatment you undergo, it is important to look after your teeth and practise good oral hygiene. This is especially true when recovering from a root canal procedure. It is likely that you will be advised to stick to a soft food diet for a day or two after your treatment. It is also likely that the tooth that has been operated on will feel sensitive for a few days. If you are still in pain or feel unwell a few days after your procedure, contact your dentist immediately.
If you have experienced problems and complications due to your dentist doing a sub-standard job or through neglect then it might be possible to sue your dentist for compensation. Contact Dental Law today.
What happens if root canal filling comes out
If the filling or crown, used to seal your tooth after your root canal treatment has been performed, comes out, then you will need to contact your dentist and they can decide if remedial treatment is required. If your dentist is closed, then it is likely they will have another number for you to call or give advice on what you need to do to access an emergency dentist. You can also call NHS 111 to find an out-of-hours dentist near you. Whether you have an NHS dentist or a private one, there will be a charge if you need urgent dental treatment.
Can you sue a dentist for a bad root canal?
You can sue your dentist for a bad root canal if the procedure was not performed to an acceptable standard or the dentist neglected their duty of care and this has resulted in unnecessary pain, harm and suffering. It may also be possible to claim compensation for loss of earnings as well as for needless pain and any corrective procedures you may need to undertake.
You may be able to claim compensation if your dentist:
- Did not gain your consent to treatment
- Did not advise of alternative, less costly treatments
- Made errors during the root canal procedure, resulting in pain or infection
- Did not clean out the root canal completely
- Did not shape or fill the canal properly and this resulted in further infection
- Fractured an instrument inside the root canal and did not inform you
- Perforated the root of the tooth.
The Dental Law Partnership could help you in pursuing your claim. Contact us about your case today.