Root canal treatment, otherwise known as an endodontic treatment, is a dental procedure used to treat infection at the centre of a tooth. The main objective of a root canal procedure is to save the tooth that is infected or inflamed.   The causes of inflammation or infection could be from bacteria living in the mouth, a dead tissue inside the tooth, deep decay, excessive wear, a broken  or fractured tooth from an accident or may be that the enamel and dentine is exposing the pulp of a tooth. In some rare cases, it can also be used when a  gum disease puts the tooth at risk.

What are the signs or symptoms that show that a root canal treatment is needed?

  • Severe toothache or pain when pressure is applied or when chewing.
  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold temperature
  • Discolouration of the tooth (the tooth gets darker).
  • Swelling and tenderness in nearby gum and sometimes gum pimples.

How does the treatment save the tooth?

A root canal procedure can be broken into four different stages:

  • The dentist takes an x-ray to see the shape of the root canal and determine if there are any signs of infection around the surrounding bone. The dentist then numbs the tooth by administering a local anaesthesia. You might feel a pinch in the area when the anaesthesia is injected . This is common. After the tooth is numb, your dentist will place a dental dam, a small sheet of rubber that will isolate the tooth to keep it clean and dry during the procedure.
  • Next, the dentist will drill a hole into the affected tooth by creating an opening in the top portion of the tooth. The reason for this is to access the inside of the tooth using something called a ‘Root Canal file’. The dentist will then use the files to clean the tooth and most especially clean out the damaged pulp from the inside of the tooth. A series of these files of increasing diameter are each subsequently placed into the access hole and worked down the full length of the tooth to scrape and scrub the sides of the root canals. Once this is done, an anti-microbial solution might be placed in the chamber to kill any remaining bacteria and reduce the risk of further infection.
  • Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, the next step is for the tooth to be sealed. A material called ‘gutta percha’ is often used when filling the teeth. Some dentists/endodontists like to wait for a week or more before sealing the tooth. Others may choose to seal the tooth on the same day it is cleaned out. Afterwards, a temporary filling is placed in the exterior hole in the tooth. This is to keep contaminants out between appointments while waiting for a permanent crown.
  • After a few weeks, the dentists will restore the tooth to full function by placing a crown to prevent it from breaking.

What is next after the root canal treatment?

The importance of a healthy oral hygiene cannot be over emphasised. It is imperative that you look after your teeth when recovering from the treatment. Here are a few things you should note:

  • Avoid biting tough foods until all of your treatment is complete
  • Your teeth may be sensitive for a few days
  • Should you experience any pain or discomfort, speak to your dentist who will then prescribe some painkillers to help relieve the pain or she may ask you to come for another visit.
  • Do not consume too much sugary foods or fizzy drinks.
  • Do not smoke

Is the root canal treatment painful? 

No. As explained earlier, your tooth and the surrounding area will be numbed using a local anaesthetic. You will feel the treatment but no discomfort.

What if the root canal treatment is unsuccessful?

For many of these problems, re-treating the tooth may solve it. The dentist can go into the tooth, remove the old endodontic filling material and then refill it, getting a better seal the second time. The dentist can also send the patient to an endodontic specialist, who has special tools and techniques to deal with failed treatment.

Other times, root canal surgery may be the answer. One type of surgery is an apicoectomy which involves accessing the root of the tooth through an incision made in the gums and bone. The tip of the root may be cut off and the area is cleaned and sealed from the end of the root.

How much is the procedure going to cost?

A root canal treatment could start from €350. However, consultation is free and zero finance is available. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact White Smile Dental at 69, Deerpark road, Mount Merrion, Dublin 4. Dr Erika and her team can help relieve your pain and help return to you to your regular healthy lifestyle. Call us on 016678524 or email [email protected] today to book your free consultation with our dental specialists for a Root Canal Therapy.




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