Endodontic Treatment

Root canal treatment is one of the most commonly performed dental procedures. This relatively simple treatment modality can save your natural tooth precluding the need of its replacement with dental implant or bridge.

Inside each tooth in the dental arch there is a small space called the Dental pulp "commonly know as the tooth nerve". The pulp is a collection of blood vessels and fine nerve bundles that help to build the surrounding tooth and provide the tooth with sensation. Repeated insults or trauma to the pulp caused by deep decay, cracks and chips, or repeated dental procedures can damage the pulp. Symptoms of pulp inflammation or infection are spontaneous pain, pain with biting or lingering cold or hot sensitivity. Occasionally, these symptoms can be associated with swelling and discharge from the tooth's surrounding gum tissues.

When your tooth is diagnosed with a diseased pulp, root canal treatment will be offered to you as the only means to retain the tooth involved. The procedure involves two main stages, which are usually carried out over two main visits. In the first visit, the first stage of root canal treatment is usually performed. The tooth will first be numbed with local anaesthetic then the tooth is isolated with the dental dam. The dental dam is a protective cover, which shields your tooth from getting contaminated with saliva from the mouth. A small opening is made in the crown part of the tooth (or cap or satisfactory existing filling), which allows direct access into the pulp space. The root canals are then identified, cleaned and shaped using small files. The canal space is also frequently flushed with several disinfectants and medicated to remove or eradicate bacteria. The second stage, which is usually performed at a later visit, involves gaining access into the canals again to flush the medication out. Then the canals are sealed and the tooth cavity is repaired with a permanent filling. When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your dentist.

In some situations the entire root canal treatment (stage one and two) can be completed in one visit. Other teeth require several appointments to complete. You will be advised on the number of appointments required to complete your treatment at the consultation appointment.

The tooth is reviewed between six to twelve months after the treatment is completed to monitor the progress of healing. The majority of root filled back teeth require a crown or cap after endodontic treatment to protect the tooth and the filling from breaking.