ROOT CANAL TREATMENT – FAQS

What is root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment (also called endodontics) is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (known as the pulp) is infected through decay or injury. You may not feel any pain in the early stages of the infection. In some cases, your tooth could darken in colour which may mean that the nerve of the tooth has died (or is dying). This would need root canal treatment.

What does it involve?

The aim of the treatment is to remove all infection from the root canal. The root is then cleaned and filled to prevent any further infection. Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. Most courses of treatment will involve two or more visits to your dentist. At the first appointment, the infected pulp is removed. Any abscesses, which may be present, can also be drained at this time. The root canal is then cleaned and shaped ready for the filling. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle. The tooth is checked at a later visit and when all the infection has cleared, the tooth is permanently filled. Since a dead tooth is more brittle and may be prone to fracture, it may be necessary to restore the tooth with a crown to provide extra support and strength to the tooth.

How will my tooth look after the treatment?

In the past, a root filled tooth would often darken after treatment. However, with modern techniques this does not usually happen. If there is any discolouration, there are several treatments available to restore the natural appearance

What if it happens again?

Root canal treatment is usually very successful. However, if the infection comes back the treatment can be repeated.

What if I don't have the treatment?

The alternative is to have the tooth out. Once the pulp is destroyed, it can't heal and it is not recommended to leave an infected tooth in the mouth. Although some people would prefer an extraction, it is usually best to keep as many natural teeth as possible.