Root Canal Treatment – The Process


Root canal treatment is a means of treating an infection of the pulp or nerve of your tooth and also in the bone of the jaw surrounding the tooth root. Your root canal treatment can be done in one extended visit or in multiple visits. The choice of approach is left up to your dentist and depends largely upon the type and extent of the infection in your tooth. The nature and extent of the infection as well as your overall general health are all factors that will affect the outcome of your treatment.

Initial visit or emergency visit
If your treatment was not completed on the first visit, we have removed some or all of the infected tissue and this should keep your tooth comfortable until your next visit. If not, call us. Because we are dealing with an infection in your tooth and surrounding bone, there may be some discomfort for a few days following your initial visit.
Your pain will probably have disappeared by the time you reach home, because of the type of treatment we use. Please remember, we are not finished and you must return to complete the root canal treatment. The next visit will be similar to the first in the instruments that we use, but it will be even less complicated. Once the tooth root is filled there may be pain for 1 or 2 days as the infection and inflammation subsides around the root tip.
If you had a toothache when you came to our office, it may take longer for the area to heal and the pain to disappear.

Completion and filling of the root canal
If the root canal has been completed on the first visit, you may anticipate some discomfort for a few more days. This is normal. You actually have had the nerve tissue in the root of your tooth removed and the empty space filled with a biocompatible rubber filling material. If the discomfort becomes more acute, call us immediately. We can give you a prescription for medication that will control this pain.

If we prescribed an antibiotic and/or a pain-reducing medication, it is important that you take these medications completely as directed. Root canal problems involve the treatment of an infection, so that the antibiotic is an extremely important part of your care. If you are not sure how to take them or for how long, call our office. Please also let us know if you develop any rashes or strange reactions to any of the medications that we prescribe for you.

Under certain circumstances, some infections may cause swelling of the jaws or face. If the swelling increases following your first appointment or after the final filling of the root canal, please contact the office. The swelling may indicate an infection that is not resolving and requires further treatment. In order to avoid the chance of swelling, please be sure to start your medication immediately.

Post-operative infection
Because we are dealing with an infection, conventional root canal treatment may not always correct the problem. In certain rare circumstances, further treatment may be required in order to completely eliminate the infection. In these situations sometimes surgically cleaning the root tip area is indicated.

Final restoration of your tooth
The entrance hole made to enable us to perform root canal treatment must be permanently sealed. If a temporary filling has been placed, you should arrange to see us in a few weeks to place a more permanent restoration.
Some teeth having root canal treatment may need a cap or crown. Root canal treatment tends to create a more brittle tooth that may need the additional strength of a cap to help maintain its integrity. In order to firmly anchor the cap to the root, a post is usually placed into the root canals without disturbing the rubber seal at the root tip. The type of treatment is dependent upon the amount of tooth structure remaining. Crowns or caps are sometimes placed a few months after the root canal treatment is completed
A front tooth may darken, but this usually happens before the root canal treatment is started. If your tooth darkens, then there are a number of techniques that we can use to help correct this problem. Modern techniques such as bleaching, cosmetic bonding, porcelain facings or capping can all be used.

Help us avoid the need for future root canal treatment by more frequent checkups. Cliffcrest Dental can design a Personal Prevention Programme for you which will reduce your chances of getting tooth decay or gum problems. Speak with your dentist and set up a programme of regular home and office care.