Root canal treatment: Everything you need to know

When it comes to dental health, there are various treatments available to address different issues. One such treatment is root canal therapy, also known as endodontic treatment. Root canal treatment is a common procedure performed by dentists to save and restore teeth that are infected or severely decayed. Despite the fear and misconceptions surrounding root canals, understanding the procedure can help alleviate anxiety and promote informed decision-making. In this blog, we will explore everything you need to know about root canal treatment, from its purpose and procedure to aftercare and potential complications.

Understanding Root Canal Treatment:

  • What is a Root Canal?

The root canal is the natural cavity within the tooth that contains soft pulp tissue, which consists of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. The pulp provides nourishment to the tooth during its development. However, if the pulp becomes infected or damaged due to deep decay, cracks, or trauma, a root canal treatment may be necessary.

  • Purpose of Root Canal Treatment:

The primary goal of root canal treatment is to save a tooth that would otherwise require extraction. By removing the infected or damaged pulp and cleaning the canals, the dentist can eliminate the source of infection and prevent further complications. The treated tooth can then be restored with a dental filling or a crown, ensuring its functionality and aesthetics are preserved.

The Root Canal Procedure:

  • Signs that Indicate the Need for a Root Canal:

Various symptoms may indicate the need for root canal treatment in Brisbane, including severe toothache, prolonged sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, discoloration of the tooth, swelling or tenderness in the nearby gums, and the presence of a pimple-like bump on the gums. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to consult a dentist promptly.

  • Steps Involved in a Root Canal Procedure:

(a) Diagnosis: When you visit your dentist with tooth pain or other symptoms, they will conduct a thorough examination, including X-rays, to assess the condition of the tooth. If they determine that a root canal treatment is necessary, they will explain the procedure and answer any questions you may have.

(b) Local Anesthesia: Before starting the procedure, your dentist will administer local anesthesia to numb the area surrounding the affected tooth. This ensures that you remain comfortable throughout the treatment.

(c) Accessing the Pulp Chamber: Next, the dentist will create a small access hole in the tooth to reach the pulp chamber and root canals. This step involves removing any decayed tooth structure or damaged pulp.

(d) Cleaning and Shaping: Using specialized tools called files, the dentist will carefully clean the pulp chamber and root canals. They will remove any infected or diseased tissue, bacteria, and debris. The canals are then shaped to facilitate proper filling and sealing in the subsequent steps.

(e) Filling and Sealing: Once the canals are thoroughly cleaned and shaped, they are filled with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha. This material seals the canals, preventing reinfection. In some cases, the dentist may choose to leave the canals medicated for a short period to ensure complete elimination of infection.

(f) Restoring the Tooth: After the root canal is completed, your dentist will restore the tooth's structure using a filling material or place a dental crown, depending on the extent of damage and strength required. This step ensures the tooth's functionality and protects it from further damage.

Aftercare and Recovery:

  • Post-Treatment Discomfort and Pain:

It is normal to experience mild discomfort or sensitivity in the treated tooth and surrounding tissues for a few days after the procedure. Over-the-counter pain medications can help alleviate any discomfort. If severe pain or swelling persists, it is essential to contact the dentist.

  • Maintaining Oral Hygiene:

Proper oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash, are crucial for maintaining the health of the treated tooth and preventing reinfection.

  • Follow-Up Appointments:

After the root canal treatment, follow-up appointments will be scheduled to monitor the healing process. The dentist will ensure that the tooth is functioning well and the restoration is intact.

Potential Complications and Success Rate:

  • Potential Complications:

Although root canal treatment is generally safe and successful, complications can occur. These may include a cracked tooth, reinfection due to incomplete cleaning of the canals, or damage to the surrounding structures during the procedure. However, with proper technique and care, the risk of complications is minimal.

  • Success Rate:

The success rate of root canal treatment is high, with studies showing a success rate of over 95%. However, success depends on various factors, including the complexity of the case, the dentist's skill, and the patient's oral hygiene practices.

Alternatives to Root Canal Treatment:

In some cases, extraction of the infected tooth may be the only viable option. However, it is important to consider alternatives to tooth extraction, such as dental implants, bridges, or partial dentures. These options have their own advantages and should be discussed with the dentist.


Root canal treatment is a valuable dental procedure that allows infected or damaged teeth to be saved and restored. By understanding the purpose, procedure, and aftercare involved in root canal treatment, patients can make informed decisions about their dental health. If you are experiencing symptoms that may indicate the need for a root canal, it is essential to consult a dentist promptly. Remember, seeking timely treatment can help preserve your natural teeth and promote long-term oral health.