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Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy (RCT)

Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection.  In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated, dental materials.

Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die or cause infection the mouth and surrounding tissues. The alternative is to remove the tooth but this can lead to significant problems for adjacent teeth.

Root canal treatment is highly successful and has a great long term prognosis.

Signs and symptoms for possible root canal therapy:

  • An abscess (or pimple) on the gums.
  • Sensitivity to hot.
  • Severe toothache pain.
  • Sometimes no symptoms are present.
  • Swelling and/or tenderness.

What does root canal therapy involve?

A root canal procedure usually requires two to three appointments. The tooth is cleaned first with a series of root canal files. Access to the nerve is done most commonly through the centre of the tooth from the top. A specialised medication along with a temporary filling is done to seal the tooth and disinfect the area. At the follow up appointment (usually 2-3 weeks) the roots are filled and sealed with a filling. It is common practice to place a crown over the tooth to give the root canal the best seal and long term prognosis.

After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed. You will be given care instructions after each appointment.  Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your root canal treatment.