Root Canal Treatment

Root Canal Treatment (Also known as endodontic treatment) is a treatment option to remove infection from a tooth. This aim of this is to provide relief of pain and allows the tooth to be kept in the mouth in order to avoid an extraction.
When is a root canal treatment indicated?

The living part of the tooth is called the dental pulp. This consists of many nerve endings and blood vessels. These nerve endings and blood vessels can be damaged due to several factors. For example:

  • Tooth decay (dental caries),
  • Previous deep decay which was close to the dental pulp, even though it was removed and a deep filling placed.
  • Cracks in teeth
  • Wear caused by tooth grinding ( Also known as Bruxism)
  • Physical trauma e.g. teeth broken in a sporting accident
  • Advanced gum disease

How is a root canal treatment performed?

Root canal treatment consists of 3 main stages;

  1. removing the damaged area of the tooth and assessing the suitability of the tooth to be restored,
  2. cleaning and disinfecting the root canals
  3. filling and sealing the root canals.

It is ideal to leave 3-4 weeks (at times longer) between each stage with a dressing placed within the tooth.

We would normally recommend a dental crown or onlay after endodontic treatment to strengthen and support the remaining tooth. This is due to the fact that a tooth that is dead is likely to split rather than bend when under the force of chewing. ( A bit like a dead tree with snap in the wind whilst a tree that is alive will bend)

Root canal treatment is performed under local anaesthesia and should alway be a comfortable experience. Although it is a long procedure, like any other, we make sure it is as comfortable as possible.

An alternative to root canal treatment in a tooth that is infected is to have an extraction or to have no treatment on the tooth. Leaving an infected tooth untreated is not ideal because it can cause a more severe infection in the jaw bone surrounding the tooth causing an abscess. In some cases it may be appropriate for a specialist to carry out the root canal treatment.

At Wanneroo Dental Centre we always aim to give you all the options for treatment.