Everything you need to know about root canal treatment

What is a root canal?

Root canal therapy or endodontic treatment is a procedure used to save a tooth that is severely decayed or infected. The procedure involves removing damaged tissue inside the tooth, cleaning and disinfecting the area, and then filling and sealing the tooth.

When is a root canal needed?

A root canal is typically needed when the nerve of a tooth becomes infected. This can happen due to a deep cavity, a cracked tooth, or repeated dental procedures on the same tooth.

The infection can cause severe pain, sensitivity to temperature changes, and swelling. If left untreated, an infected pulp can lead to an abscess (a pus-filled pocket) in the bone around the tooth or spread to other teeth or other parts of the body.

Removing injured or infected pulp is the best way to preserve the tooth’s structure, but you may be concerned about the pain of the procedure. We offer unique endodontic procedures that are completely pain-free. Find out more here.

How is a root canal performed?

Your endodontic treatment can be performed in a dental office, and the procedure is as follows:

Step 1: Anaesthetic

Your dentist will apply numbing cream to your gum. Once it has taken effect, they will inject a local anaesthetic into your gums. You might feel a sharp pinch or burning sensation, but this will only last for a few seconds.

Step 2: Removing the pulp

When your tooth is numb, your dentist will make a small opening in the top of the tooth. Once the infected or damaged pulp is exposed, they will carefully remove it using special tools. 

Step 3: Antibiotics

Once the pulp has been removed, the dentist may coat the area with a topical antibiotic to ensure that the infection is gone and prevent reinfection. Once the canals are cleaned and disinfected, the dentist will fill and seal the tooth. They also may prescribe you oral antibiotics.

Step 4: Temporary filling

The dentist will end the procedure by filling the small opening in the top of the tooth with a soft, temporary material. This sealant helps prevent the canals from being damaged by saliva.

Aftercare of a root canal treatment 

A root canal treatment is considered a restorative treatment, but just because the procedure restores your tooth’s natural function does not mean that you should neglect your oral hygiene. On the contrary, a root canal treatment should last for many years to maintain good oral hygiene habits such as brushing and flossing regularly, as well as scheduling routine visits with your dentist. Maintaining these habits will also prevent future infections that require a root canal.

Find out more about our endodontic treatments here.