Root Canal Treatment

Up until about 40 years ago, if a tooth became badly damaged there was no other choice but to extract it. Now however, there is a choice. An increasing awareness of the importance of dental health has given rise to the process of root canal treatment. This treatment means that more teeth can be saved.

Root canal therapy is almost always a painless procedure and sometimes there is no need for any anaesthetic at all. In some instances, discomfort can occur 12 to 24 hours following the procedure. This is usually controlled by over-the-counter painkillers. We recommend that you contact us if you experience any prolonged discomfort after this treatment.


What is an Abscess?

A tooth abscess forms when the nerve inside your tooth dies due to decay or trauma. The dead nerve causes infection at the tip of the tooth in the jawbone.

The tooth becomes very tender to bite on and can give continuous intense pain.  The only treatment is either Root Canal Treatment or to extract the tooth.

It is possible to have a tooth abscess without symptoms, however it will eventually cause bad toothache.


What is Root Canal Treatment?

Root canal treatment describes treatment relating to problems of the tooth’s soft core, the dental pulp or nerve.

Years ago, teeth with diseased or injured pulps were removed. Today, root canal treatment has given us a safe way of saving teeth.


What is the Dental Pulp?

Dental Pulp is the soft tissue that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. It lies within the tooth and extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the root in the jawbones.


Why does the pulp need to be removed?

If the infected pulp is not removed, pain and swelling can result. Certain by-products of the infection can injure your jawbones. Without treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.


How is the Pulp Damaged?

When the pulp is diseased or injured and can’t repair itself, it dies. The most common cause of nerve death is a cracked tooth or a deep cavity. Both of these problems can allow germs (bacteria) to enter the nerve.

The germs eventually cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, pus builds up at the root tip in the jawbone forming a “pus-pocket”, called an abscess. An abscess can cause damage to the bone around the teeth.


What does the treatment involve?

Root canal treatment often involves from one to three visits to the dentist. During treatment we remove the diseased pulp. The pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth are then cleaned and sealed.

Here’s how your tooth is saved through treatment:


root canal treatment

Root Canal Treatment – Step 1

First, an opening is made through the crown of your tooth.
The pulp is removed
The root canals are cleaned, enlarged and shaped to a form that can be filled.


Root Canal Treatment – Step 2

Root Canal Treatment – Step 2

Medications may be put in the pulp chamber and root canals to help get rid of germs and prevent infection. A temporary filling will be placed in the crown opening to protect your tooth between dental visits. You might also be given medicine to help control infection that may have spread beyond the tooth. The pulp chamber and root canals are filled and sealed.


Root Canal Treatment – Step 3

Root Canal Treatment – Step 3

The temporary filling is removed, and the pulp chamber and root canals are cleaned and filled. Sometimes where there is insufficient tooth tissue remaining a reinforcing post is bonded into one of the canals, prior to a crown being made.


Root Canal Treatment – Step 4

Root Canal Treatment – Step 4

In the final step, a gold or porcelain crown is usually placed over your tooth. If an endodontist (a specialist) performs the treatment, he or she will recommend that you return to us for this final step.


How long will the restored tooth last?

Your restored tooth could last a lifetime if you continue to care for your teeth and gums. However, regular check-ups are necessary. As long as the tissues around it nourish the root(s) of a treated tooth, it will remain healthy.