Root Canal Treatment

In the middle of a healthy tooth there is living tissue that we call the pulp, it is made up of blood vessels and nerves. Occasionally teeth die or the pulp can become inflamed. This may be caused by trauma, decay, deep fillings, or sometimes there is no obvious reason.


Symptoms of pulpal problems include sensitivity to cold and/or hot drinks, a throbbing ache and pain on biting. On the other hand, there may be no symptoms at all.

If pulp problems are not managed early on then infection around the tooth may cause swellings and other serious issues.

Root canal treatment provides a solution of cleaning out the inside of the tooth, including any infection. then sealing it closed.

What is involved?

  • The area of the mouth to be treated is numbed with a local anaesthetic and the damaged tooth tissue removed painlessly.
  • The root canals are then located and measured using x-rays or electric location devices.
  • The canals are then cleaned.
  • Finally, the root canals are filled to prevent further infection.
  • After the root canal the tooth will need at least a filling and possibly a crown to provide the best long term success rate.
  • After treatment, the tooth may be sensitive or tender for a few days due to inflammation of the surrounding tissues. This discomfort should be relieved by taking painkillers.

After root canal treatment the tooth contains no nerves. However, there are normal tissues surrounding the root: the gum, periodontal membrane and supporting bone. After a while, a root canal treated tooth should feel no different to any other.

How long does root canal last?

Very occasionally a root canal treatment will fail and further treatment may be required. However, any symptoms will usually pass with time. Generally, root treated teeth should last indefinitely but they can become brittle. This can cause part of the tooth to fracture and for that reason, dentists will sometimes recommend a crown.

Daily brushing and flossing are essential to avoid gum disease and decay. As always, regular check-ups are essential and will enable your dentist to detect any problems in their early stages.