Root Canal Therapy

The following is a short summary outlining the treatment and time-table for Endodontic therapy also known as Root Canal Work.

Appointment Timing

Root Canal treatments are usually done over 3 appointments.  They are done on teeth that have infections, or are dying or need a post for support. In the first two instances that tooth will be typically, but not always, causing pain. Sometimes where there has been a persistent infection more than 3 appointments may be needed, although this is rare. Also the first and second appointment may be done at the same time.  Teeth may have 1,2,3,4 or even more canals. The complexity of canals varies greatly.  In most cases antibiotics will NOT be necessary. It is important that all 3 parts of the treatment are carried out or the problem will re-occur.

First Appointment : Relief of Pain (Emergency Pulpotomy)

This is usually an emergency appointment. Typically an injection is given, an X-ray taken, rubber dam placed  and the existing filling is removed so that complete removal of decay is possible. The root canals are located and the bulk of the infected pulp is removed. Medicaments are placed in the tooth to kill infection and to relieve pain.  A temporary restoration will be placed. In teeth that had a large restoration, a metal band is placed for the duration of the root therapy appointments.

Second Appointment: Cleaning and Preparation of Root Canal System

In most cases the pain will have gone. An injection may or may not be needed. Rubber dam will be used. The canal is cleaned out with the use of files and medications and prepared for filling. Again X-ray will be taken.

Third Appointment: Obturation (filling and sealing) of Canals

This appointment occurs when the tooth is symptom free. Rubber dam is placed and in most cases an injection is not necessary. The tooth’s canals will be filled by a combination of techniques usually with cold and warm gutta percha and cement. A check X-ray will be taken.