Root Canal Treatment


What is a Root Canal?

A root canal (endodontic treatment) procedure involves the removal of unhealthy or infected pulp tissue within the tooth. The hard tissues which are the dentine and enamel remain after the treatment so the tooth is still there. Thereafter, the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Often, the tooth is restored with a crown to mitigate cracks and maintain a seal over the access. If one does not treat an infected pulp, the tissue surrounding the tooth can become infected, leading to the formation of abscesses. 

Why does the tooth pulp need to be removed?

When a pulp is damaged irreversibly, it breaks down. In some cases if there is tooth decay and there is an ingress of bacteria, that bacteria starts to multiply within the pulp chamber. The bacteria and other decayed debris may cause an infection and an abscess.. 

An abscess can form at the end of the tooth roots when the infection spreads. This often causes pain, swelling, bone loss and drainage problems extending outward from the root. 

What causes damage to a tooth’s nerve and pulp?

A tooth’s nerve and pulp becomes inflamed, irritated and infected because of deep decay, repeated dental procedures on a tooth or large fillings, a chip or crack in the tooth or trauma to the tooth.

How long does root canal treatment last?

Because of the varying and complex anatomy of the tooth’s roots, sometimes, it may take more than one visit for a dentist to complete the procedure. Most cases are performed over 2 visits several weeks apart.

How is a root canal treatment performed?

  1. First, an x-ray is taken to see the shape of the root canals and to determine if there is an infection in a surrounding bone. 
  2. Local anaesthesia is used to numb the area around the tooth. It may not be necessary, but most dentists do it to help you feel more calm and relaxed.
  3. Next, in order to keep the area clean, your dentist will place a sheet of rubber called the rubber dam to isolate your tooth from contamination.
  4. Then, an access hole is drilled into the tooth. Through the access hole, the pulp along with bacteria, the decayed nerve tissue and the related debris is then removed from the tooth. 
  5. The internal aspects of the tooth are then cleaned using root canal files. 
  6. During the cleansing process, irrigants like sodium hypochlorite and EDTA are used to flush away the debris.
  7. Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it is then sealed.