Root Canal Treatment

Root Canal Therapy is the most commonly performed endodontic procedure.

Root Canal Therapy is a complex, precise treatment that involves the shaping and disinfection of the inside of the tooth. Root Canal Therapy (also called endodontics) can be carried out over one to three visits, depending on the health of the tooth and the complexity of the root canals.

It is used to save teeth that would otherwise need to be removed.

Before commencing treatment, the tooth is generally numbed using local anaesthetic. The tooth, and adjacent teeth are then isolated using a latex sheet, called a ‘dental dam’. The dental dam is used to keep contaminating saliva away from the root canals.

The procedure itself usually involves making a small hole in the tooth in order to reach the pulp. Sometimes this may be more extensive, especially if there is decay present that must be removed, or if the tooth needs to be explored for cracks. It is common to use a microscope for these procedures to inspect the tooth closely, and to remove only the minimum amount of tooth structure.

Specially designed instruments are then inserted into the canals to gently, but thoroughly, remove the pulp and shape the canals. The canals are then disinfected with antibacterial fluids. After this a medication is placed in the canals for the period between visits. This is to eliminate any germs that may remain in them. The tooth is temporarily sealed until the next appointment.

Tooth Diagram

Once the canals are shaped and cleaned they are filled using a rubber compound called gutta percha. This essentially creates a plug in the canal to prevent germs from re-infecting the area. The gutta percha is cemented using a biocompatible sealer. The gutta percha and sealer make up the root canal filling.

After the canal is filled a temporary filling is placed in the tooth. A final X-ray is recorded showing the finished root filling. This will accompany a report to your dentist outlining all treatment and what needs to be done next.

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