What is a Root Canal?
Root canal treatment is the de-vitalization of a tooth. It is the removal of the tooth’s pulp (the tissue in the centre of the tooth containing blood vessels and nerves). Once the pulp is infected, damaged or dead, if left untreated an infection can develop at the root tip forming an abscess that can destroy the bone surrounding the tooth and cause pain. During a root canal procedure the affected pulp is removed and the remaining space is cleaned, shaped and filled. This process seals off the root canal alleviating pain and allowing the body to repair the bone around the root tip.

What is the Prognosis for a Root Canal treated tooth?
Root canal treated teeth can last a lifetime with proper care. Because a tooth with a root canal can still suffer tooth decay and periodontal disease, good oral hygiene is essential to prevent future problems. Typically, teeth that require root canals have significant portions of the natural tooth missing or removed during the root canal treatment. This, combined with the fact that root canal treated teeth no longer have a pulp keeping the tooth vital, results in a tooth that is sufficiently more prone to fracture. This is important to consider when deciding whether to place a crown over the tooth. The dentist will recommend the best treatment for your individual needs.

The most common reason for a root canal treatment are:

  1. A deep cavity;
  2. An injury to the tooth such as a severe blow to the tooth either recent or in the past;
  3. A crack or fractured tooth.

What is done during a Root Canal Procedure?
  1. An opening is made typically through the back of a front tooth or through the crown of a posterior tooth to access the pulp chamber;
  2. Once the pulp chamber is accessed the diseased pulp is removed;
  3. Various methods are used to clean and shape the pulp chamber and root canal(s) in preparation for being filled;
  4. The pulp chambers and root canals are dried and permanently filled using a rubbery material called gutta-percha, which is inserted into each of the canals and is sealed into place;
  5. A restoration is place to restore the tooth’s natural anatomy.