What is root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment (also called endodontics) is needed when the
blood or nerve supply of the tooth (known as the pulp) is infected
through decay or injury. You may not feel any pain in the early
stages of the infection. In some cases, your tooth could darken in
colour which may mean that the nerve of the tooth has died (or is
dying). This would need root canal treatment.
Why is root canal treatment needed?
If the pulp becomes infected, the infection may spread through the
root canal system of the tooth. This may eventually lead to an
abscess. An abscess is an inflamed area in which pus collects and
can cause swelling of the tissues around the tooth. The symptoms of
an abscess can range from a dull ache to severe pain and the tooth
may be tender when you bite. If root canal treatment (RCT) is not
carried out, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be
Does it hurt?
No. Usually, a local anaesthetic is used and it should feel no
different to having an ordinary filling done.
What does it involve?
The aim of the treatment is to remove all infection from the root
canal. The root is then cleaned and filled to prevent any further
Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure.
Most courses of treatment will involve two or more visits to your
At the first appointment, the infected pulp is removed. Any
abscesses, which may be present, can also be drained at this time.
The root canal is then cleaned and shaped ready for the filling. A
temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle.
The tooth is checked at a later visit and when all the infection has
cleared, the tooth is permanently filled.
What will my tooth look like after treatment?
In the past, a root filled tooth would often darken after treatment.
However, with modern techniques this does not usually happen. If
there is any discolouration, there are several treatments available
to restore the natural appearance.
What if it happens again?
Root canal treatment is usually very successful. However, if the
infection comes back the treatment can be repeated.
What if I don't have the treatment?
The alternative is to have the tooth out. Once the pulp is destroyed,
it can't heal and it is not recommended to leave an infected tooth in
Although some people would prefer an extraction, it is usually best
to keep as many natural teeth as possible.
Will the tooth be safe after treatment?
Yes. However, as a dead tooth is more brittle, it may be necessary
to restore the tooth with a crown to provide extra support and
strength to the tooth.
Where can this treatment be carried out?
Root canal treatment is a routine dental procedure, which your
dentist will be happy to do for you. However, sometimes your
dentist may refer you to an Endodontist who is a specialist in this
type of treatment.
What about aftercare?
Root-treated teeth should be treated just the same as any other
tooth. Remember to clean your teeth at least twice a day with a
fluoride toothpaste. Cut down on sugary snacks, and keep them
only to mealtimes if possible. See your dentist for regular check-ups.
Johnstone Dental Practice
10 Walkinshaw Street
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Telephone: 01505 321030
(c) Johnstone Dental Practice
Monday: 8.15am - 5.30pm
Tuesday: 9.00am - 5.30pm
Wednesday: 8.00am - 5.30pm
Thursday: 8.15am - 5.30pm
Friday: 8.30am - 5.00pm
Closed for lunch 1-2pm