Root Canal Treatment

Sometimes due to deep decay, a severe blow or other causes a tooth will “die”.  This means that the pulp (the nerves and blood vessels within the tooth) dies.  The “dead” pulp then provides an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, and the resulting infection can cause pain, swelling or destruction of bone.

How is it done?
Root canal treatment involves the removal of the infected pulp tissue, and meticulous debridement of the inside of the tooth.  Once that is completed the canal (inside of the tooth) is filled with an inert material (Gutta Percha) which cannot grow bacteria.

Does it hurt?
Generally no.  Occasionally an infected tooth is difficult to “freeze”, but this can be managed with care and patience.  An antibiotic is usually given prior to the appointment to control infection. Removing the infected nerve tissue often removes the source of pain.  Slight tenderness of the tooth for a few hours after the treatment has been done is fairly common and does not usually require more than pain medication usually taken for a headache.  Anything more than a slight ache is unusual and should be reported to us.  You are usually provided with pain or anti-inflammatory medication.

How long does it take? 
Root Canal treatment can usually be done in one appointment.  A second appointment may be necessary.

Does it work?
Overall success rate is about 95%.  When the treatment is completed, the tooth is free from pain and destroyed bone begins to reform.  The tooth’s sense of touch is unaffected, and the tooth feels normal.

What complications might arise?
Very rare cases which do not heal adequately after conventional treatment can still often be cured surgically by removing the infected tip of the root. A crown is strongly recommended after the Root Canal Treatment has been completed to eliminate the possibility of fracture.