When a tooth is cracked or damaged, and the pulp of the tooth is exposed, the tissue can become infected, and an abscess may develop. Besides extreme toothache and tender gums, this infection can lead to the loss of a tooth.

Root canal treatment is an oral endodontic procedure that is performed to try to save the tooth. The tooth is opened using a dental drill to expand the hole until we reach the healthy remaining tooth structure. All decay is removed until we encounter the centre of the tooth, which we call the pulp chamber. The infected pulp is removed, and the floor of the pulp is exposed. From here, we follow the dental anatomy and expose the openings of the roots. These openings follow a tunnel down to the apex of the root. Within this tunnel are nerves and blood vessels that previously gave life to the tooth. This tissue is removed while you are completely numbed. This tunnel is referred to as the root canal. Teeth such as incisors and canines generally have a single root with a single canal; however, there are some cases where accessory canals like tributaries of a river may be found, and in some rarer cases, even additional roots may be found. Multirooted teeth such as premolars and molars have 2-4 canals that must be cleaned and sealed.

Generally, a root canal must be treated over three visits. This allows time for antibiotics as well as medicaments placed inside the canals to treat and heal the tooth. During the root canal procedure, your dentist will take several x-rays to assess the length and width of the canals. This is due to the highly technical nature of root canal therapy.

Once cleansing and preparing of the root canal have been completed, a gutta-percha (GP) material will be used in combination with cement to plug the canal. The GP material is coated in cement and placed into the canal. The excess material above the canal is removed using a laser cutting tool or other precision instrument. Excess cement is cleaned out, and a layered filling will be placed to provide a healthy core to the tooth.

We suggest placement of a crown over the root-treated tooth to ensure it is strong enough to function optimally during eating.

A root canal is a generally painless and highly successful procedure. In no time, you will be smiling, biting, and eating with ease.

You may need a root canal if:

  • Sensitivity to hot and cold on your tooth
  • You have extreme pain whilst chewing and biting
  • You have pimples on the gums
  • You have a tooth that is chipped or cracked close to the gum line
  • Your gums are swollen or tender
  • You have darkened gums
  • You have tooth decay
  • You have a leaking filling
  • You have damaged teeth due to trauma
  • You have pus oozing from an infected tooth
  • You have facial swelling
  • You have a tooth that is darkening in colour