Understanding Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment is a commonly performed dental procedure that can help to save the day if you have a damaged or infected tooth. This treatment is often the only alternative to removing a tooth once an infection has reached the the pulp (the tooth’s living tissue). The process involves removing the decayed pulp tissue and clearing, cleaning and filling the root canals. Although root canal treatment is often a procedure that provokes feelings of dread and anxiety, it is carried out under local anaesthetic, so you should feel completely comfortable during treatment.

The root canal procedure 

Root canal treatment may be called into action when the pulp tissue of the tooth is damaged or infected. This area of the tooth contains the blood vessels and nerves and when blood flow to the tooth is reduced, the tooth starts to die. Without root canal treatment, the tooth would almost certainly have to be extracted.

After treatment, your dentist may recommend crowning the tooth. This involves placing a dental crown or cap over the tooth. A crown will help to stabilise and strengthen the tooth, reducing the risk of any further problems in the future. If you do have a new crown, a temporary crown will be fitted after root canal treatment and this will be replaced with a permanent crown around two weeks later. It may be possible to have same-day treatment with CEREC. Ask your dentist for more details.

Treatment is performed under anaesthetic and the dentist will numb your tooth before starting the procedure, so you shouldn’t feel any pain at all. Once your tooth is completely numb, your dentist will use a dental drill to access the root canals and start to remove the decayed tissue. Your tooth will be cleaned thoroughly to ensure any harmful bacteria are removed and the dentist will then fill the root canals with a material called gutta percha and seal them. This helps to prevent any leftover bacteria from spreading to other parts of the tooth.