What is a root canal treatment?
A root canal treatment is done when an infection develops within the root of your tooth potentially leading to an abcess. A root canal removes the nerve of the tooth that has been infected and kills the bacteria that have caused the infection. After this has been done the canal is sealed with a special material that fills the space where the nerve used to be.
How is the nerve removed?
We use small thin files to remove the nerve. We also used the most advanced rotary instruments which are attached to a dental drill. These rotary instruments make the process much quicker and more effective because they create a smooth shape on the inside of your root that is easier to fill and seal.
How long does it take?
Different teeth have more nerves than others. The back molar teeth have several nerves whereas the teeth at the front of the mouth normally only have one or two at most. Therefore the time taken will depend on the number of nerves that need to be removed. A front tooth can take as little as 20-30minutes whereas a back tooth can sometimes require about 2 hours.
Will it hurt?
Not at all. You will be given a local anaesthetic to numb the tooth and no treatment will be begin until you are fully numb.
Will I need a crown after a root canal treatment?
Because the nerve has been removed the blood supply to the tooth is lost. This means that the tooth is more brittle and more at risk of fracture. It is a bit like a leaf that falls off a tree. Over time the leaf becomes dry and starts to crack and crinkle. This was the main reason that crowns were placed over teeth after a root canal was done.
However due to advances in materials depending on how much tooth has been removed to gain access to the nerves a crown is not always necessary. We can even use a smaller crown or ‘hat’ for the tooth known as an onlay which can be both white or metal. An onlay is kinder to your tooth because not as much natural tooth needs to be removed to place an onlay although it still provides the same amount of protection as a crown.
Our endodontist Dr Mathias Brufman has completed his masters in Endodontics and is now a Dentist with Specialist Interests in this field.