Teeth need root canal when they can't be saved by just a regular filling. We always advise to save natural teeth as much as possible. Root canals are usually done in 2-3 visits a few weeks apart. Root canals are always done using a rubber dam. 2-3 appointments are usually required to ensure there isn't any infection present once the treatment is finished.
Root canal procedure
You may need 2 or more visits to complete the root canal treatment, depending on root canals in your tooth. The exact procedure chosen may differ from the procedure outlined here. Ask us for further information.
Generally, the typical root canal treatment includes:
- The procedure is usually performed using local anaesthetic. If the pulp is infected, anaesthesia may not always be necessary because the tooth no longer has any feeling.
- The affected tooth is wrapped in thin rubber (called a ‘rubber dam’) to prevent contamination of the root canals.
- The decayed portions of the tooth and any affected filling are removed.
- The pulp or pulp remnants are extracted.
- We use a special drill and small instruments to thoroughly clean and shape the root canals and to remove bacteria, pus and debris. The root canals may need to be shaped or hollowed out to ensure a smooth interior surface.
- The interior of the tooth is flushed with disinfectants and then dried.
- If the root canal is not infection free, it may be medicated and the tooth sealed with a temporary filling material. You may have to wait a few weeks, or even months, before the pulp canal is filled. If we feel bacteria are still present at your next appointment, the cleaning procedure may be repeated and the tooth once again packed with medication. This stage will continue until the tooth is free from bacteria.
- The infection-free root canal is then sealed with long-lasting barrier materials (the root filling), usually a rubber-based material called ‘gutta-percha’.
- The tooth then undergoes restoration and the biting surfaces need protection – an artificial biting surface for the tooth is fashioned out of regular filling material.
- In many cases, where there is considerable loss of the tooth structure, there may be a need for an artificial crown made from porcelain.