Root canal

What is root canal treatment?

Root canal, or root filling, is exactly as it sounds – a treatment to fill the tooth’s root canal.

Root canal treatments are required when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (the pulp) becomes infected through decay or is injured, or if the nerve of the tooth has died or is dying.

How will I know I need root canal treatment?

In the early stages of infection or damage you may feel no pain and be unaware of the problem until your dentist spots it. However, if left, an infection in the pulp that spreads through the root canal system may lead to a painful abscess. If the nerve of the tooth has died, or is dying, the tooth may darken in colour, indicating a root canal treatment is required.

What happens during root canal treatment?

–          The dentist will drill into the surface of the tooth to gain access to the root canals

–          Using a series of very fine instruments, the dentist will clear the root canals, removing any infected pulp, draining any abscesses and cleaning the root canal

–          The root canal is shaped ready for filling and a temporary filling is put onto the tooth to allow the tooth to settle

–          At the next appointment, the dentist will remove the temporary filling material, check that all infection has cleared, and if so, permanently fill the tooth

–          More appointments may be required if infection problems persist

Can all teeth be root filled?

No. Some teeth cannot be root filled if they have very complicated root shapes.

Is a root filled tooth strong?

A root filled tooth is not as strong as a tooth that has not had a root filling. As root filled teeth are dead they are more brittle. Sometimes it is necessary to place a crown on a root filled tooth to give extra strength.