Root Canal Treatment

An infected or inflamed tooth can be treated by performing a root canal treatment (RCT). In most cases when a tooth is compromised, it is preferable to save the tooth with RCT if possible. The living part of the tooth, known as the pulp, consists of sensitive nerves and blood vessels. When a tooth becomes infected, the pulp can become very painful. If left untreated, it can allow an abscess to form at the root tip or even allow bacteria to enter the jaw bone. The purpose of RCT is to remove the affected pulp to save the tooth and to prevent the proliferation of the bacterial growth.

The most immediate benefit of RCT is that it can provide significant pain relief. From a long-term perspective, RCT preserves the natural tooth, saves the need for a tooth extraction and the requirement of a dental bridge, implant or crown – all expensive treatments. The flaw of RCT is that it does weaken the remaining natural tooth to some extent. To alleviate this concern, a crown can be fitted as support.

Root Canal Treatment Suitability

If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort from a tooth, a check-up with one of our dentists will identify the cause of the problem and determine whether RCT is an appropriate treatment.

RCT is most suitable when the affected tooth can realistically be saved in the long term. RCT will likely be recommended if the tooth is not severely damaged, cracked or decayed, and if the surrounding gum is healthy.

The RCT treatment is usually unsuitable when the tooth is beyond saving, such as in cases of severe infection or when the tooth is badly damaged due to poor gum health. For patients on a budget, the extraction therefore becomes a more affordable option. If the extraction is planned, consideration should be given to whether the gap created would require a later filling.

The Procedure

Root canal treatment usually requires two to three appointments.

During these appointments, small hole is created in the top part of the tooth to gain access to the canals. The affected pulp is removed, and the canals are methodically cleaned with an anti-bacterial preparation. The canals are filled with synthetic material which provides a seal.

A RCT-treated tooth can be protected with either a filling or a crown to ensure long-term success.


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