Root Canal Treatment

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Root canal treatment is a procedure used to repair a badly damaged or infected tooth instead of extraction.

It involves removing the damaged or infected pulp (the nerve and blood vessels inside a tooth). Subsequently, the remaining space (the root canal) is then cleaned, disinfected and sealed to prevent re-infection.

The most common causes of pulp disease, damage or infection are:

  • Extensive tooth decay;
  • Deep fillings;
  • Deep cracks in a tooth; and
  • Trauma, either recent or in the past.

The most common symptoms that may indicate the need for a root canal are:

  • Severe pain when chewing or applying pressure;
  • Prolonged, throbbing pain to hot or cold temperatures;
  • Spontaneous or unprovoked pain;
  • Discolouration of the tooth;
  • Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gum;
  • A persistent or recurring pimple on the nearby gum; and
  • The tooth being loose.

Sometimes no symptoms are present. However, the need for root canal treatment can be detected by an x-ray or additional special tests.

Root canal treatment involves the following steps:

  • To determine if root canal treatment is required, The tooth is assessed and an X-ray recorded to diagnose pulpal disease and the cause of the problem.
  • A dental dam (a rubber sheet) is placed over the affected tooth to isolate it, keep it free from saliva and aid effective cleaning and disinfection.
  • A small opening is made through the back of the tooth to remove the diseased pulp.
  • Next, the remaining space (the root canal) is cleaned, shaped and disinfected in preparation for a root filling.
  • The root canal is filled with gutta percha (a type of rubber from a tropical tree) material and sealed.
  • Finally, The small opening made in the back of the tooth is closed with a simple filling.

It is strongly recommended the tooth and root filling is then protected with a dental crown. Root-filled teeth are brittle and considerably weakened as a result of the procedure, therefore it is at increased risk of catastrophically fracturing. Evidence-based research has shown the support and protection of a dental crown greatly reduces this risk.
Root canal treatment is not a painful procedure due to advances in anaesthesia and techniques – it is as comfortable as having a filling and takes approximately 60 minutes to complete.

The only alternative to root canal treatment is extraction and replacement of the tooth with either an implant, bridge or denture.
It is always preferable to save a tooth, where possible, rather than replacing it with an artificial tooth. Natural teeth are better for biting and chewing. Due to recent advances in technology and techniques, root canal treatment has a high success rate and is usually a more cost-effective option than extraction and artificial replacement of a tooth.

A root filling and restored tooth can last for 10 or more years. However, tooth decay can still occur in treated teeth. Therefore good oral hygiene habits with regular 6 monthly examinations and cleans are necessary to prevent potential further problems.

At Sunrise Dental Care, as part of our commitment to providing the highest quality of dental care, we use the latest techniques and state-of-the-art technology in root canal therapy. This allows the procedure to be faster, more accurate and painless for our patients.

We accept all major health funds and are preferred providers for:

If you have pain, swelling or tenderness and think you may require root canal treatment or would like any further information, please contact us online, by phone or visit our practice.