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Root Canal Treatment

Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection, thus feeling pain and extra sensitivity. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated, dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function.

Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the solution, but what is not realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth.

Signs and symptoms for possible root canal therapy:

  • An abscess (or pimple) on the gums.
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold.
  • Severe toothache pain.
  • Sometimes no symptoms are present.
  • Swelling and/or tenderness.
  • Reasons for root canal therapy:
  • Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth).
  • Infection or abscess has developed inside the tooth or at the root tip.
  • Injury or trauma to the tooth.


Firstly, the root canal is located. Using a nerve broach, the nerve tissues are removed. Then the canal is widened with instruments known as files and the apex of the root located using an apex locator. The root canal is cleansed for disinfection of the canal contents and flushing out of debris and for the softening of the dentine. Following the cleansing, the canals should be dried with paper points and inter-visit intracanal dressings are placed for allowing proper drying out.

  • On the next visit, the root canals are obturated, meaning that the canals accessory and lateral canals are blocked in order to prevent the movement of tissue fluids, micro-organisms and toxins in and out. This is done with gutta-percha and sealer.
  • Lastly, a filling is performed to complete the treatment.
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