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Root Canal Treatment - What is it?

Root canal treatment has a high success rate and is an effective way to save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted. By removing the source of infection and sealing the tooth, a root canal helps alleviate pain, restore normal chewing and biting function, and maintain the natural appearance of the smile. Regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene practices are essential to ensure the long-term success of the treated tooth.

A root canal treatment is a dental procedure that involves removing the infected or damaged pulp from the inside of a tooth, cleaning and disinfecting the root canals, and then filling and sealing them to prevent further infection. This treatment is typically necessary when tooth decay, repeated dental procedures, or trauma has caused the pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels, to become inflamed or infected. The goal of a root canal is to save the tooth and eliminate pain or discomfort caused by the infection.


  • Pain Relief: Root canal treatment alleviates the severe pain associated with an infected or abscessed tooth.
  • Tooth Preservation: It saves the natural tooth, maintaining its function and appearance and avoiding the need for extraction.
  • Preventing Spread of Infection: By removing the infected pulp, it prevents the spread of infection to adjacent teeth and the jawbone.
  • Restoration: A properly treated and restored tooth can last a lifetime with good oral hygiene.


  • Complexity: The procedure can be complex and requires precision, often necessitating multiple visits.
  • Cost: It can be more expensive than other treatments like extraction, especially if a crown is needed afterward.
  • Possible Complications: There is a small risk of complications such as incomplete removal of the infection or tooth fracture.

Overall, root canal treatment is an effective way to save a tooth and maintain oral health, despite its complexity and cost.

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What is the purpose of root canal treatment?

A root canal is a dental procedure designed to treat infection or damage within the tooth's pulp, which is the innermost part of the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels. This treatment is often necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, cracks or chips, or trauma. The primary goal of a root canal is to eliminate the infection and preserve the tooth, preventing the need for extraction.


How long does the treatment take and how may appointments?

After the tooth is numb, the dentist places a rubber dam around the tooth to keep it dry and free from saliva. An access hole is then drilled into the tooth to reach the infected pulp. Using specialized instruments, the dentist carefully removes the infected or damaged pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals. The canals are then cleaned, disinfected, and shaped to prepare them for filling. This step is crucial to ensure that all bacteria and debris are eliminated to prevent further infection.


What is the process?

The root canal process begins with a thorough examination and diagnosis by a dentist or endodontist. This typically involves X-rays to assess the extent of the infection and to determine the shape and condition of the root canals. Once the need for a root canal is confirmed, the dentist administers local anesthesia to numb the affected area, ensuring the patient remains comfortable throughout the procedure.


Are root canals normally successful?

Once the canals are thoroughly cleaned and shaped, they are filled with a biocompatible material, typically gutta-percha, and sealed with an adhesive cement to prevent reinfection. After the root canal procedure, a temporary filling is placed to close the access hole. In most cases, a follow-up visit is necessary to restore the tooth with a permanent filling or crown, which provides structural support and restores the tooth's function and appearance. The final restoration ensures that the tooth remains protected and functional for many years.

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