A root canal is sometimes an alternative option to having a tooth removed. A tooth might need a root canal when the nerve inside a tooth is involved, and a filling alone won’t fix the problem. A root canal allows us to try and save a tooth.

How does the nerve become involved?

  • From a large or deep hole in the tooth
  • Trauma to a tooth
  • When a large filling irritates the nerve
  • Gum or bone disease
  • When the tooth is fractured
  • When a tooth is extremely worn down

How do I know if I need a root canal?

Some symptoms that may indicate you need a root canal include:

  • A severe toothache
  • Pain to hot, cold or pressure
  • Facial pain or swelling
  • A discoloured tooth
  • A little bump in the gums near the tooth you’re worried about

What does it involve?

Our dentists will complete several tests and take some x-rays to determine if your tooth is suitable for a root canal. If it is, the procedure be carried out over several appointments and will involve:

  • Local anaesthetic, so you won’t feel anything
  • Accessing the canal inside the tooth where the nerve lives
  • Removing the nerve with small files
  • Rinsing out the canals to remove any infection
  • Placing medicine in the canals to help the tooth heal and recover
  • Finding the exact length of the canal with more x-rays
  • Shaping the canal and placing a long-term filling inside it

When is it suitable?

For a root canal to be successful, the tooth needs to be able to be sealed to stop future infections. If the tooth that requires a root canal is a molar or takes a lot of biting forces, your dentist may suggest you have a crown placed after the root canal. A crown provides structural integrity to the tooth and the best seal to stop future complications, such as re-infection or fracture.

What else do I need to know?

Depending on the tooth involved, root canal appointments can be quite lengthy. It is a technique sensitive procedure and our dentists want to do the best job they can.