Root Canal Treatment: A Step-by-Step Patient Guide


Root canal treatment refers to the repair of an infected or damaged tooth as an alternative to its complete removal and eventual replacement with a dental denture, implant or bridge. The term “root canal” comes from the step where the canals inside the affected tooth’s root are cleaned.

Admittedly, even the mere mention of root canal treatment Melbourne residents will cringe because it has an ill-deserved reputation for being the most painful dental procedure. With the advancements in dental tools, techniques and technologies, the root canal procedure has higher safety and efficacy rates, not to mention that patients will experience little to no pain sensations during and after the procedure.

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Reasons for Undergoing the Procedure

The root canal treatment is necessary when a tooth is severely damaged or infected but can still be preserved instead of removed. It should be emphasized that teeth have pulp, a soft core extending from their crowns to the tip of their root in the jawbone. The pulp, in turn, has blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues.

When one of the teeth has a crack or a cavity, bacteria can easily enter the pulp and can lead to serious infections including abscesses. The results of untreated pulp infection include death of the pulp, the loss of bone, and the loss of the affected tooth itself.

But that’s not all either. Without the best root canal treatment Melbourne dentist can perform, the decayed pulp can lead to symptoms of moderate to severe toothache, swelling of the gums, and extreme sensitivity to temperature as well as swelling around the face and neck.

The bottom line: If your dentist recommends root canal treatment, then you should seriously consider its benefits. Yes, there will be costs, both monetary and non-monetary (i.e., downtime from work) but the benefits will far outweigh these expenses.

Steps in the Procedure

The procedure is usually performed by a general dentist although an endodontist is the better choice because of the specialised techniques and tools necessary for the job. The treatment will require one to three visits depending on the severity of the decay, damage or infection with the preliminary steps being:

• Dental x-rays are taken to evaluate the extent of the damage

• Local anaesthetic is administered for pain management purposes

• Dental dam is placed in the mouth, which will keep the tooth protected from saliva and keep it clean

• Decay is removed followed by making an opening through the affected crown’s tooth, which will allow for access to the pulp chamber

The root canal treatment procedure then starts when the diseased or infected pulp is removed. The succeeding steps are:

• The root canals and pulp chamber are flushed and cleaned to clear up the infection; both parts should be cleaned of all infection and dried before the permanent filling can be applied in the next steps. The dentist may also administer medication into both parts to fight the infection while the affected tooth may be left open for drainage purpose for several days. The tooth will be protected from debris and saliva via a temporary filling placed on its crown.

• The temporary filling will be removed after a certain period of time so that the empty pulp chamber and root canals can be filled with a permanent filling. You may or may not require an additional anaesthetic for this step in root canal treatment depending on your dentist’s professional discretion and your pain tolerance. Your dentist will use a sealer paste and rubber compound to fill in the affected tooth and then a dental filling will be used to protect the root canals from saliva.

• The tooth will be restored by placing a crown over it, said crown of which can be made from gold, porcelain or porcelain-metal material. The crown can also be tinted to match the colour of the rest of your teeth, thus, ensuring a more natural appearance.

In just a few days, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of the root canal treatment! Your restored tooth will look just like your other teeth but you have to adopt good dental habits to keep it for the rest of your life.

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