A root canal treatment (RCT) or endodontic treatment is a procedure that dentists use to treat infected, or dead, teeth. A root canal procedure involves removing the dead or dying material, then ‘filling in’ the root canals inside the teeth. Without a root canal treatment, abscesses may form when the tissue around the tooth becomes infected. Root canal treatment (RCT) should be initiated as soon as possible after a tooth infection is diagnosed.
RCT is often performed under local anesthetic on teeth, which are isolated from saliva and soft tissue by a sheet of rubber placed over the tooth called a ‘rubber dam’. Once the rubber dam is in place, your dentist will drill directly into the tooth to gain access to the root canal system in the center. He will then look for the entrance to the root canal(s). Once all of the canals have been found, they are cleaned and shaped using various instruments. The length of the canal(s) is determined by x-rays and/or an electronic device.
The canals are then permanently filled to prevent bacteria from re-entering the canal system. A final x-ray will be taken to check that the canals have been filled completely and to the correct length. Root-filled teeth are more likely to fracture than healthy teeth and you will usually require a crown to protect and reconstruct your tooth after the root canal treatment has been done.
Root canal is needed when the pulp (the soft tissue inside the tooth) becomes inflamed or infected as a result of trauma or injury to the tooth, deep decay, big filling, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a cracked or chipped tooth. If left untreated, the infection will spread resulting in the tooth having to be removed.
Frequently Asked Questions
When would I need Root Canal Treatment?
- Dull ache or severe pain
- Abscess (area where pus collects)
- Prolonged sensitive tooth (especially to hot or cold)
- Tenderness when biting or eating
- Swelling of your face
- Severe bad taste in your mouth
- Tooth darkens in colour
An infected tooth will not heal by itself and as it gets worse, it will continue to be a source of infection that brings down your immune system.
What is the procedure?
We will make you feel comfortable and relaxed before, during and after the procedure, so don’t be afraid to get your tooth treated.
Root canal treatment usually requires two appointments. At the first appointment, we numb the area so that the procedure is comfortable. We remove the infection in the root of your tooth and make sure the remaining tooth is healthy and stable. The root canal is cleaned and shaped and a temporary filling is placed.
In your second appointment, the temporary filling is removed and we check that the infection has cleared before filling the tooth permanently.
A crown may the very last step in the procedure, which will give this tooth added strength and protection, restoring the tooth function and giving you a healthy and natural smile.
What are the benefits of treatment?
Root canal treatment by our expert dentists will not only free you from pain but will also address infections in your teeth immediately. Most importantly, it saves teeth that otherwise would have to be extracted. Once the tooth has been restored, you can still bite, chew and eat as normal.
How will I feel after treatment?
After completing your root canal treatment, you may feel some discomfort for a few days. This is normal and we may advise pain relief medication or antibiotics to help eliminate any remaining infection.
Your tooth may darken after treatment however, there are several treatments available to restore the tooth to its natural appearance including, internal tooth bleaching, veneers or crowns.
If a crown has been advised, it is not advisable to eat directly on the root filled tooth until the crown has been placed, as this may cause the tooth to break. The longer you wait to complete the final restoration the more likely bacteria will re-infect the tooth, requiring root canal treatment to be performed all over again.
How much will my Root Canal Treatment cost?
We understand that price is an important consideration factor. Like any dental treatment, the cost of root canal treatment is dependant on which tooth needs treatment and how long your treatment will take to complete. Generally, front teeth have a single root canal, whereas back teeth have multiple roots and multiple root canals, making them more difficult and time consuming to treat.
When you come to see us for your first consultation, we will determine the most appropriate treatment for you and provide you with a treatment plan and cost.
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