Root Canal

Root Canal treatment involves removing the pulp (called the nerve) from within the tooth and then sealing the cavity. The pulp lies in the tooth centre within a thin canal extending from the crown of the tooth through to the tip of the root.

Root canal treatment may be required when the tooth becomes painful, tender to bite on, is particularly sensitive to heat and cold, or may have an obvious large cavity that extends into the nerve of the tooth, or suddenly becomes dark in colour. Sometimes the pulp of the tooth will die without causing any noticeable pain.
Under a dental anaesthetic, the remains of the nerve are cleaned through a small hole in the crown of the tooth. Thin files are used, together with cleaning solutions.
This often takes three appointments and also involves x-rays to be taken, to determine the length of the tooth. Finally, a sealant is placed in the canal.

Some answers about root treatment:

  1. The tooth may darken after root treatment, especially if the tooth has received a heavy blow resulting in some bleeding into the tissue.
  2. More than 80% of root treatments are successful.
  3. Surgical assistance may be needed to gain access into difficult canals.
  4. Costs are high due to the degree of skill required and the length of time needed to carry out this treatment.
  5. Front teeth usually have one canal whereas back teeth have two or more canals.

Upon completion of root canal treatment a final covering must be placed on the crown of the tooth. This is necessary because all root filled teeth become more fragile and brittle. You may choose either a porcelain or gold crown for your tooth. The crown fits around and protects the tooth like a hat. A cheaper option would be silver (amalgam) or white (composite) filling, but these do not support your tooth and you may run the risk of tooth fracture in the future.