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.