When a tooth becomes very painful due to damage to the pulp,
or develops an abscess, then root canal therapy may be the
only way to save the tooth.
This treatment is done by removing the nerve and filling
the root canal, and then restoring the tooth.
Crowns are often needed for root filled teeth, as they can
become more brittle.
What is root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment involves removing the soft inner tissue
of a tooth. This is sometimes necessary in teeth that are
causing the patient discomfort as well as teeth that are totally
There are multiple reasons that your dentist may recommend
root canal treatment. The ultimate goal is to save a tooth
that is otherwise unable to be saved.
An endodontic procedure can save your tooth.
Why root canal treatment?
A healthy, restored tooth is always better than an artificial
one. With better technology and anaesthetics, root canal procedures
are painless and can now be completed in one or two visits.
Are there any complications in the procedure?
While it is possible to have complications, root canal therapy
is successful approximately 95% of the time and the restored
tooth can last a lifetime with proper dental care.
The steps of a root canal procedure are:
• Local anaesthetic is administered.
• Tooth is isolated from saliva.
• A small opening is made in the top of the tooth
• Pulp is removed from pulp chamber and root canal(s)
• Root canal(s) is cleaned, enlarged, and shaped so
that it can be properly filled
• Canals are then sealed and the tooth is ready for
• A crown is usually placed over the tooth to prevent
it from fracturing
Benefits of root canal treatment:
• Save the tooth
• Add immense relief
• End infection/discomfort
• Regenerate bone tissue
All back teeth with root canals should be protected
with a crown.
Once the pulp of the tooth has died or has been removed, the
tooth no longer has its hydrating mechanism and becomes somewhat
brittle and more prone to fracture. It is important that all
back teeth (molars and premolars) that have been endodontically
treated be protected with crowns to prevent fracture and to
restore their appearance. (This is somewhat less necessary
with front teeth because they have a smaller biting table
and, as a result, are less prone to fracture in function.
However, discoloured root canal treated teeth need to be crowned.
A Deep Infection - Root canal treatment is
needed when the tooth's root becomes infected or inflamed through
injury or advanced decay.
A Route to the Root - The tooth is anesthetized.
An opening is made through the crown of the tooth to the pulp
Removing the Infected/Inflamed Tissue - Special
files are used to clean the infection and unhealthy pulp out
of the canals. Irrigation is used to help clean the root canal.
Filling the Canals -The canals are filled
with a permanent material, often gutta-percha. This helps
to keep the canals free of infection or contamination.
Rebuilding the Tooth - A temporary filling
material is placed on top of the gutta-percha to seal the
opening until the tooth is ready to be prepared for a crown.
A crown, sometimes called a cap, is made to look like a natural
tooth, and is placed on top.
Extra Support - In some cases, a post is
placed to give the crown extra support.
The Crowning Touch - The crown is cemented