Root canal treatment

Root canal treatment is a procedure to remove the nerve and disinfect the inside of the tooth to relieve dental pain. Dental pain occurs because the tooth is either dead or dying or has had an exposed nerve due to trauma. One option to treat this situation is with root canal treatment.

The aim of root canal treatment is to save a tooth that has been damaged due to decay or injury.
Q. What are the signs and symptoms of a tooth needing a possible root canal treatment?
  • Severe toothache which may keep you up at night
  • severe pain with hot foods and liquids
  • extreme tenderness to touch
  • swelling of the gum or face
  • large filling lying close to the nerve (your dentist may be able to tell you if this is so during dental filling placement)
  • severe fractures in the tooth.
  • tooth turning grey in colour especially after physical trauma.
  • Elective root canal treatment maybe required if you have broken a tooth and a post needs to be placed to support a dental filling.
Most people would prefer to save a tooth because they can eat better, clean better, speak better and not have unsightly gaps in their mouth.
Root canal treatment involves removing the nerve within the tooth with special instruments that clean, widen and shape the root canal. An antibiotic and anti-inflammatory paste is placed in each canal.
This process may take more than one visit, and the tooth will be sealed temporarily between visits. When the root canal treatment is complete the canals will be filled with a special material and the tooth sealed with a filling.
Often it will be recommended that a crown should be placed over the root filled tooth in order to strengthen it and prevent chipping and cracking.
Q. I am in lots of pain, but can’t decide if I want to take the tooth out or save it. What are my option?

A. If you can’t decide on whether a root canal is right for you, or unsure if you want to take the tooth out, an interim solution to get you out of pain is what we call in dental terms, a pulpectomy, or emergency nerve removal. This procedure involves removing any decay, removing the nerve, dressing the root canal with a corticosteroid for pain relief and then closing the tooth up to prevent further bacteria going into the tooth. Antibiotics may also be prescribed as well as pain relief.