Root canal therapy (or endodontics) involves removing the infected pulp from the innermost part of the tooth. This prevents the infection from spreading and can help save a tooth that may otherwise have to be extracted.

Why is root canal treatment necessary?

If the hard external structure of the tooth is breached, bacteria can easily reach the soft tissues inside – the pulp. You may not get any symptoms of infection within the tooth, but this can mean the infection can worsen and ultimately lead to tooth loss. Signs of infection include:

  • Pain when biting
  • Tenderness
  • Sensitivity
  • Swelling or an abscess in the gum
  • Fever
  • Discolouration of the tooth
  • Increased mobility of the tooth

Root canal treatment removes the infected pulp from the tooth, leaving the external part of the tooth untouched and bacteria-free. The cavity is sealed with a filling and full function of the tooth is maintained.

This treatment can prevent any further infection and is also less expensive than replacing a missing tooth.

What does root canal treatment involve?

Root canal treatments often require two or more appointments to ensure the tooth is free from bacteria. Between each appointment, the tooth will be protected and temporarily restored.

We first start by taking x-rays to assess the root canals and check if there are any other signs of infection. We always use a local anaesthetic before treating the tooth and removing the infected pulp. Once we’ve removed the internal tissues, the root canals are shaped and cleaned, then sealed with a filling or a crown.

Many people who have a root canal are often surprised by how easy and pain-free the treatment is. If well looked after, a treated tooth will last a long time.