Root Canal Therapy

A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and abscesses may form.

“Root canal” is the term used to describe the natural cavity within the centre of the tooth. The pulp or pulp chamber is the soft area within the root canal. The tooth’s nerve lies within the root canal.

Root canal therapy:

A root canal treatment involves making a small hole into the top of the decayed tooth and removing the soft centre, known as the dental pulp. The dental pulp is made up of connective tissue, nerves and blood supply, and extends into the roots of the tooth. The crown, or surface of the tooth that is used for chewing, may also be replaced if necessary.

Root canal therapy can be performed by your 7 to 7 dentist or you may be referred to one of our specialist endodontists.

When is a root canal treatment needed?

A root canal treatment can save a badly infected or damaged tooth. The tooth may have become infected or damaged by decay, repeated dental work, wear and tear, gum disease, cracked fillings or an injury to the tooth.

When the dental pulp is damaged, bacteria can start to multiply inside the tooth. This can lead to an infection or abscess, which is a pocket of pus that forms at the end of the tooth’s root.

Saving your own tooth if possible is important. It works better than an artificial tooth for biting and chewing. Losing a tooth can lead to other problems in the mouth. Replacing a lost tooth with an artificial one often needs more complex dental procedures. Root canal treatment is often the best way of saving your tooth.

Why is root canal treatment necessary?

Root canal treatment is necessary when the pulp of a tooth becomes infected. This treatment allows us to save the natural tooth, rather than extracting it.

The pulp can become infected if the harder outer layers of the tooth are damaged due to decay or trauma, as it exposes the interior of the tooth to bacteria.

Once the pulp becomes infected, it loses its ability to fight the spread of the infection.

The aim of a successful root canal treatment is to remove the bacteria and prevent it from getting back into the tooth.

If the infection is left untreated it can spread into the surrounding bone. Abscesses (pus-filled pockets) may then form at the root(s) of the tooth (‘apical foramen’), and there may be localised bone loss in the jaw around the ends of the infected root canal(s).

The tooth will continue to be weakened by the bacteria and may break down completely. Eventually the tooth will need to be extracted (removed).

What are the signs I might need a root canal treatment?

Sometimes there are no symptoms that a tooth needs root canal therapy. More commonly, the signs include:

  • severe toothache when chewing
  • sensitivity to hot or cold that lasts after the heat or cold has been removed
  • darkening of the tooth
  • swollen and tender gums
  • a persistent pimple on the gums or a hole in the tooth
  • swelling of the face or neck

What happens during a root canal treatment?

First, the dentist takes an x-ray of the tooth to see the shape of the root canals and determine whether there is any infection in the bone around the tooth. They will use a local anaesthetic to numb the area around the tooth before placing a small hole in the tooth to remove the pulp.

It can take up to two appointments for the dentist to clean and shape the hole inside the tooth before placing a sterile filling inside. They may also insert a small support into the root canals to strengthen the tooth. They may need to cap the tooth with crown as the tooth may require this for strength.

Root canal therapy normally feels like a normal filling,  it takes a little longer. At 7 to 7 Dentist our patients have let us know that they enjoyed their time with us, listening to the music and having a good conversation.

At 7 to 7 Dentist we aim to make you as comfortable as possible, from offering your favourite music to listen to while you relax with a warm dry cleaned blanket to a cuppa tea or coffee.

If you are having pain or feel something is not quite right with a tooth or your mouth, please call one of the friendly team today: 1300 661 771 or book online: 7to7dentist.com