Root Canal Therapy

If you’re experiencing pain and discomfort in a tooth, there may be a problem with your root canal.

Or call (08) 9407 7088

Getting to the root of the problem

Root canal treatment is the procedure to remove an irreparably damaged nerve inside your tooth. Your front teeth have a single canal and your back teeth have multiple canals.

There are many different reasons for us to recommend root canal therapy. You might have a dental abscess that is causing you pain or swelling. It might be that active decay has affected the nerve or pulp of your tooth. Perhaps you’ve experienced some trauma or fractured your tooth in an accident, affecting the nerve or pulp, even if it happened years ago. Whatever the reason, for us, root canal treatment is usually a last resort. But, if it means it saves your tooth from being extracted, then we’re all smiles.

This is how we do it

Root canal treatment can take from 2 to 4 visits. It really depends on how bad the infection is. Each visit lasts between 30 and 90 minutes.

We start by treating you with a local anaesthetic. We then isolate your tooth using a small sheet of rubber. This helps protect the tooth and prevents anything from going down your airway. We’ll then make a small hole in the biting surface of the tooth giving us access to the pulp chamber and nerve canals. We put a medicated dressing into this chamber to help settle the tooth down. We finish this appointment off by placing a temporary filling into the tooth. We then schedule your follow up appointment, which is usually 1 or 2 weeks later, before sending you on your merry way!

At the start of your second appointment we’ll remove the medicated dressing. Once done, we then begin removing the damaged nerve. Once that is complete, we’ll want to do a complete clean out of the canals, getting them free of any debris. The canals are then rinsed and dried before a new medicated dressing is inserted. We cover the area with another temporary filling, and once again, you’re off on your merry way!

From time to time we do schedule an appointment for a short dressing change, but only where the infection has been quite severe.

The final appointment

During your final appointment the last medicated dressing is removed and the canals are again rinsed and dried. We then use a putty-like material and place it into the canals. This seals them up nicely and also prevents any further infection. Finally, we place a permanent filling into the tooth to fill the access hole. And that’s it! It’s almost time to bring out the peanuts and popcorn!

At every stage of this treatment we do take digital radiographs (x-rays). This allows us to check the progress of the root canal treatment and ensure that all the debris has been removed and that the canals have been properly sealed.

Following the final appointment and once the tooth has actually settled down, we usually recommend placing a crown on the tooth to protect it from future fractures.

The FAQs on Root Canals

Why not just extract the tooth?Icons/Icon_ArrowDown_48x48_Grey

When you extract a tooth, you leave a space for adjacent surrounding teeth to move or tip into. It can also affect opposing teeth which can negatively affect your bite and function. We don’t want that to happen. So we will always be our recommendation to try to save a tooth if it is likely to have a good prognosis.

If extraction is unavoidable then we do have treatment options available such as dentures, crowns and bridges or dental implants that we can use to replace missing teeth. These options help avoid any major loss of function, so we’d be happy to discuss them with you.

Why does the tooth need a crown?Icons/Icon_ArrowDown_48x48_Grey

To feel like a king? Okay, aside from the bad dentist’s joke, a crown is much more than just a cosmetic finish. Over time a root canal treated tooth will become more brittle. This is because it no longer has a living nerve within it. A crown provides the strength and stability the tooth needs, protecting it and preserving its function.

Is this a Dental Emergency?

No one plans for them, but unfortunately, emergencies and accidents do happen. So, we plan for the unplanned by keeping several appointments open every day for emergencies.