Root Canal Treatment

Eliminate toothache with Endodontic Therapy

When damaged teeth are left untreated for a long period of time it can lead to a deterioration on the nerve within the tooth, causing discomfort. Tooth decay can also lead to even greater health issues. National Dental Care / DB Dental provides root canal therapy, which is an endodontic treatment used to treat patients who are suffering from damaged nerves.

Tooth structure

Adult teeth are structured in the same way - starting with the jawbone, which provides the structural support for all your teeth. The root runs from the jawbone, up and around the dentine that forms the tooth, and back down the other side into the bone. The root inside the dentine is known as the pulp. The pulp contains nerves and blood vessels, then the layer of dentine, and finally, the outer enamel finishes the tooth. Your gums are soft tissue that protect the bone and root. A root canal treatment is necessary when tooth decay has reached the point that the pulp is diseased or dying. The pulp is the source of blood flow in your teeth, so when it is compromised, you are at a greater risk for oral sepsis and other diseases. If the pulp becomes infected and dies, you might refer to this as a 'dead tooth'. When the pulp becomes damaged there is no barrier to micro-organisms and other toxins to infect the pulp, thus potentially entering your bloodstream.

Symptoms of tooth decay

Your body is designed to fight infection, so the first sign of tooth decay or damaged pulp is usually toothache. You may notice your gums surrounding the sore tooth are inflamed and swollen.

These are some other symptoms of a damaged pulp:

  • Dull, throbbing toothache
  • Lingering sensitivity to heat and cold
  • Pain or tenderness when chewing
  • Tooth discolouration
  • Bad taste in your mouth and/or bad breath

If you neglect a dental pulp infection, the result will likely be a dental abscess. This happens when the toxins from oral bacteria destroy the bone around the tooth. Left untreated, the tooth will eventually break down and die, whilst becoming more and more discoloured in the process.

Root Canal Therapy (RCT)

The treatment for diseased dental pulp is a root canal. In most cases, our dentists' can perform this microsurgery in the practice. There are some cases where you may need to have an endodontist, a dentist who specialises in root canal, to complete the procedure. An example would be if your teeth have uncommonly long or curved roots, and the general 2D x-ray doesn't provide a clear picture. Endodontists have more high-tech equipment, like a microscope or a 3D x-ray, that would provide a clearer picture of the pulp and roots. RCT usually takes between one to three appointments.

After the treatment

There's no preparation for a root canal, but there are some suggestions for aftercare. If you experience any pain beyond what seems normal for this treatment, call your dentist.

  • Over the counter analgesics like paracetamol or ibuprofen should manage any discomfort you feel after the treatment
  • Avoid hard or chewy foods for the first few days
  • Get in the habit of good oral hygiene habits (brush and floss twice a day)
  • Schedule a follow-up appointment for a crown, if necessary

After your root canal treatment, you'll need regular visits to the dentist and x-rays to confirm good root health and that there are no lingering infections around the tooth. A root canal will last for many years when you practice good oral hygiene and make regular trips to the dentist.

Frequently Asked Questions

First, your dentist will take x-rays to assess the damage. Before your procedure commences your dentist will also provide you with the option of anaesthesia for pain relief if you feel that it is necessary. To start the process, your dentist uses what looks like a pin, called an endodontics file, to clean the diseased tooth and pulp debris from inside and will use an antibacterial solution to flush out any remaining bacteria or floating debris. An antibacterial dressing is placed over the tooth and a temporary filling, to prevent further infection. Once your roots are free from disease and debris, leaving clear "canals" for the dentist to fill, they will bond the walls of the canal with a sealant. To complete the process, a crown may be recommended to protect the tooth from further damage, and a restoration goes over the top of the tooth until the crown can be fitted. Each appointment usually takes between 30 minutes and an hour and a half, and you can resume normal activity as soon as the anaesthesia wears off.
What causes dental pulp to die? The nerve is somehow exposed and is irritated by an external stimulus. A fractured tooth can expose the nerve, leading to fissures that are open to bacteria growing in the pulp. Gingivitis, or gum disease, can also expose the nerves to bacteria when it's left untreated.

Make a booking

Please select a practice from the list below