Root Canal Treatment
Frequently Asked Questions (Click on Questions to See Answers)
A – Root Canal Treatment is a procedure to clean out infected pulp comprised of nerves, veins, and tissues, and to fill and seal the inner tooth for protection from injury, decay or disease. The treatment is under the umbrella of the endodontic field of dentistry where dentists specifically may are experts in the internal treatment of the teeth.
A – The root within a tooth contains a coronal portion that houses the root canal(s), nerves, veins and connecting tissues, also called dental pulp. The root surface connects tooth root canals together. Each tooth root can have more than one root canal with dental pulp that initially functions to develop the tooth dentin and then serves to feed the tooth with nutrients and minerals for protection from decay and diseases, and for sensing.
A – Anyone whose inner tooth is infected due to decay, disease or injury, or who has a discoloured tooth as a result of a dying tooth nerve may need Root Canal Treatment. The treatment is aimed at preventing the loss of the tooth, the spread of infection to other teeth via the root canals, the formation of abscesses, and also to protect against gum disease. Our resident dentist can diagnose if you need Root Canal Treatment and advise you further about the treatment.
A - Leaving an infected or discoloured tooth untreated can lead to a build-up of bacteria that further decays the tooth causing inflammation and infection that can result in painful puss-filled abscesses, gum disease, tooth loss, and facial deformation.
The infected tooth can cause spread of infection to the other teeth and mouth via the root canals, affecting overall physical and mental health. Physical symptoms can include swelling of the throat, nausea, fever and pain.
To avoid illness and additional costs to treat both your dental, physical and mental health, it is advisable to see our resident dentist immediately if you suspect that your tooth may be infected.
A – If you have experienced an injury to your mouth and notice that your tooth is starting to discolour, this can be the start of an infected or dying tooth root. Other symptoms may include swollen and sensitive gums around the sore tooth, and a nagging toothache. It is best to have your tooth checked by our resident dentist just to make sure so that spreading tooth decay or gum disease can be avoided early.
A – In essence, the Root Canal Treatment is performed for the same purpose, but the reasons for treatment will be patient-specific. Any other differences may be how the procedure is performed, the type of equipment used, the skill of the dentist or endodontist, and the materials selected to complete the treatment.
A – Our resident dentist will initially examine your teeth either through routine evaluation or by X-ray to determine if the tip of the root is causing discoloration or if infection is present in the tooth pulp. By diagnosis, root canal treatment may be recommended to restore the existing tooth and to protect the teeth from further infection and disease.
A – After the initial examination and X-ray with diagnosis, an appointment is made to proceed with the Root Canal Treatment. At this appointment, you will be given a local anaesthetic to numb the mouth area being treated so that you feel no pain.
The teeth are protected by a rubber covering called a dam while the infected tooth is drilled to remove any existing fillings and to access the root canal for cleaning and disinfection. Sometimes a temporary filling is put in place to secure and protect the tooth while the permanent filling or crown is prepared.
The root canal is then filled with a material, such as gutta percha, before the tooth is either permanently filled, or prepared for crown fitting. In some cases, the root is removed and replaced by titanium implant posts to which a porcelain crown abutment is fitted. Our resident dentist will explain the procedure to you and any other treatments that may be necessary.
A – During the procedure, our resident dentist gives you a local anaesthetic that numbs the tooth and gum regions under treatment so that no pain is felt, such as with a tooth filling. If you experience anxiety about dental treatment, our resident dentist can discuss sedative options or relaxation therapies with you to help you feel calm before and during the Root Canal Treatment.
A – The success of root canal treatment does also depend on the amount of damage to the tooth site, any compounded infection from leaving the initially infected tooth untreated, the patient's overall health, and if patients with prior root canal treatment have adequately kept up dental hygiene standards and regular checks with our resident dentist.
There may be higher risks associated with root canal treatment for infected back teeth that have more root canals generally than front teeth. Any risks associated with treatment can be explained to you at your initial examination by our resident dentist.
A – Root Canal Treatment is aimed at cleaning out the root canal pulp, disinfecting the inner tooth, and sealing the tooth to protect against further infection or disease. However, any tooth can become infected again even after Root Canal Treatment, depending on injury, the condition of other teeth, how soon the person sees a dentist if infection is suspected, and following dental hygiene standards as recommended.
A – The tooth and gum region may feel tender, so rinsing gently with warm salt water will help. Eat soft foods initially and continue to apply recommended dental hygiene practices, such as brushing technique with fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash, and regular dental check-ups with our resident dentist. If you have any concerns, do contact our resident dentist for help.
A – The cost of Root Canal Treatment will depend on how far the infection has spread and how much treatment is needed, the types of treatment, the dental practice, the skill of the dentist or endodontist, and also where the treatment is performed. Our resident dentist can discuss costs and concerns with you, and also provide you with information on our payment plans.
A – Root Canal Treatment is really the main method for disinfecting a tooth. Alternative tooth restorations are available for consideration, such as dental implants, crowns, dentures, veneers and so on. Feel free to bring your questions with you and our resident dentist looks forward to explaining treatment and alternatives to you.