Root Canal Treatment

When tooth decay becomes deeper it can enter the central part of the tooth that contains the nerves and cause pain.  Root Canal Treatment is a procedure where the infected nerve is taken out of the tooth to relieve pain and swelling.  Root Canal Treatment does NOT have to be painful.  Below is an outline of what your dentist is trying to achieve when they are undertaking a root canal treatment.  Aspects of this may vary depending on the particular tooth and case.

  1. Pain free
    You dentist may numb the tooth with anaesthetic to make the procedure comfortable for you. In some cases, if the nerve is already dead, this may not be necessary.  If at any stage, the procedure becomes uncomfortable, please let your dentist know and they will do what they can to help make you comfortable again.
  1. Cleaning
    The dentist will access into the tooth and canals in which the nerves sit.  There are different numbers of canals depending on the tooth being treated and can vary between patients.  The dentist will clean the nerve canals with specially manufactured files that are only used once to ensure they are sharp and sterile.  A disinfecting (bacteria killing) fluid will also be used to clean out these canals.  At this stage the dentist may place medicine in the canals and a temporary filling on top.  This would destroy any remaining bacteria in the tooth and help reduce any inflammation.
  1. Filling
    The next stage of treatment is to fill the cleaned nerve canals.  There are a variety of techniques available for this.  The filling material is a special, sterile form of rubber called gutta percha.   This is placed into the hollow canals with a cement.
  1. And what then….?
    After this the top of the tooth may be filled with a normal filling and then monitored.  The tooth may also need a crown (cap) on top to protect the tooth.