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Root Canal Treatment

What is a root canal treatment?

Inside the tooth is a hollow centre containing ‘pulp’. Pulp is a sensitive tissue made up of blood vessels and nerves that provides oxygen, nutrients and feeling to the tooth. The pulp is found all through the tooth and the space where the pulp sits in the root is called the root canal.

Root canal treatment is a dental procedure that replaces damaged or infected pulp in the tooth’s root canal, with a root canal filling.

If you have damaged or infected pulp in one or more of the roots of your teeth, or an abscess has developed, you may need a root canal treatment. This damage or infection may have been caused by untreated dental decay, decay beneath a filling, tooth damage, tooth grinding (bruxism) or gum disease.


What should I expect with root canal treatment?

This procedure may need to be completed over several visits.

  1. The infected tooth.

  2. The dental professional will make an opening in the top of the tooth.

  3. The diseased pulp and bacteria are flushed out with disinfectant and the root canals are cleaned with special instruments.

  4. The pulp chamber and root canals are filled and sealed.

  5. The tooth opening is restored with a filling.

  6. After a root canal treatment, a tooth becomes brittle. It can be strengthened (to stop it from splitting while eating) with a cap or ‘crown’.

Like any medical procedure, a root canal treatment poses some risk and, on rare occasions, there may be complications. These complications may result in a tooth needing additional treatment, referral to a specialist or may result in the tooth needing to be removed.

What are the alternatives to a root canal treatment?

Root Canal Treatment is the only way to keep a tooth with an infected root canal or infected nerve.


Other alternative include:

Remove the tooth – Removing the tooth will leave a gap that may need to be replaced by an artificial tooth.
Leave the tooth untreated – If left untreated an infection may occur and can spread to the jaw. Pus can build up and cause pain. Cysts may also develop and need further treatment.

Disclaimer: Information on this page is adapted from the Australian Dental Association Inc.
Medical and Detnal conditions are complex, you should not rely on information provided here for self-diagnosis and treatment/prescription

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