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Updated on July 26, 2020

Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment is used to repair and save a tooth that is decayed or badly infected. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and as the bacteria multiply, abscesses (a pus-filled collection) will form.

Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has the following advantages;

  • Allows more efficient chewing
  • Normal biting force and sensation
  • More natural appearance
  • Protects other teeth from excessive strain

Causes of Root Canal damage

A tooth’s nerve and pulp can become inflamed and infected due to

  • deep decay or infection
  • repeated dental procedures on a tooth
  • crack or chip in the tooth
  • trauma or injury

Symptoms of Root Canal disease

  • Pain while chewing or biting
  • A chipped or cracked tooth
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Tooth discolouration
  • Decay or darkening of the gums

Saving your natural tooth is the always the best option using root canal treatment.  If not, the tooth would need to be extracted and replaced with a bridge or implant.

Click to view See3Communicatons AAE video on Root Canal Treatment

What to expect during root canal treatment

  • You may need a 2D or 3D X-ray for pre-operative assessment to see the shape of the root canals and look for signs of infection in the surrounding bone
  • A rubber dam will be placed around the tooth to keep the area dry from saliva during treatment
  • An access hole will then be drilled into the tooth so that the dental pulp, debris and bacteria can be removed from the tooth
  • Water or sodium hypochlorite is used to flush away the debris and bacteria
  • The tooth may be sealed on the same day or on a separate occasion at a later date to allow the infection to clear completely.  A temporary filing will be placed to close the tooth in the meantime until the next visit
  • At the next visit, the tooth is finally sealed permanently with a sealer paste and strong filler
  • Your dentist may recommend a crown or an onlay to protect the tooth if required

Post Treatment Care

  • Avoid drinking or eating for the first 2-3 hours after the treatment because your tooth and lips may be still numbed from the anaesthestia
  • You may feel some mild discomfort or tingling sensitive feeling for the first few days.  Do take the pain killers medication prescribed by your dentist or apply ice pack on the day of surgery
  • Avoid chewing on the side of the treated tooth until your endodontic treatment has been completed or your tooth has been covered with protective restoration by your dentist.  It is best to have soft diet for the first few days
  • Avoid exercise on the day of surgery. You should be able return to work or other activities the next day
  • Practise good teeth hygiene by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly to prevent further infection to your other teeth

See your dentist if your pain suddenly gets worse, if the temporary crown or filling comes off or if there is swelling inside or around your mouth or you develop a sudden fever


Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.