A Root Canal Treatment is usually performed on a tooth when the pulp or “nerve” in the tooth is dead or dying.
A severe toothache that’s keeping you awake at night is usually a good indication that a Root Canal Treatment is needed.
Unfortunately, the only alternative to having a Root Canal Treatment is to extract the tooth.
There are a few circumstances in which a tooth will need a Root Canal Treatment. Most common reasons are: If there are gross amounts of decay in the tooth which go right down into the pulp of the tooth. If the tooth has had a large restoration (filling or crown) on the tooth for many years which can put “strain” on the tooth. If the tooth has sustained trauma. E.g. The tooth has been bumped in a fall or accident.
Root Canal Treatments cannot usually be completed in one visit. They’re usually divided over at least three appointments spread over time ranging from weeks to months. We will advise the appropriate time length for you after each visit.
This is usually done to get the tooth comfortable. The tooth is numbed and opened. The pulp is removed and a medicament dressing is placed inside the tooth to help it settle. A long-term temporary restoration is placed.
This visit is usually a longer and more thorough appointment. The tooth is reopened and the previous dressing is cleaned out. The canals in the tooth are then thoroughly cleaned and shaped to an appropriate length, ensuring all the necrotic / infected tissue has been removed. Another “dressing” is placed in the canals to allow them to heal and start clearing any infection.
This is usually the final stage of the Root Canal Treatment, however in some instances i.e. if there is a large infection in the tooth, this appointment is used to change and redress the canals. If the canals are clean and dry, then they can be filled. This involves reopening the tooth and removing all of the previous dressing. The canals are then thoroughly dried and a sealant is placed inside. The shaped spaces in the canals where the pulp used to be are then filled with small rubber points so that nothing can grow up into the space again and possibly reinfect the tooth. The tooth is then sealed with another long-term temporary filling.
After a Root Canal Treatment is completed in a back tooth, the tooth is reasonably weak. It is strongly suggested that a crown is placed on the tooth to help maintain its strength. It is advised that this be completed as soon as possible after a Root Canal Treatment as there is a high risk the tooth will fracture and may not be repairable.