Root Canal Therapy

What is a "root canal" and what is "root canal therapy"? Did you know that your teeth are actually alive?

The centre of your tooth contains the nerve and the blood vessels that supply the tooth.  This is referred to as the “pulp” of the tooth and is what gives your tooth feeling; for example, that cold feeling when you eat an ice-cream.  It also allows the tooth to heal itself to very small degree.  The pulp of the tooth extends down into the roots of the teeth, in an area that is known as the ‘root canal’.  Different teeth have varying numbers of canals and is not always the same as the number of roots the tooth has.  We usually find 1-2 canals in front teeth and 3-4 in molars, or back teeth. 


Root canal therapy is a process that is sometimes needed to save the tooth when there is damage or injury to the pulp.  This may be injury due to decay or trauma.  It involves the dentist removing the nerve of the tooth, followed by cleaning and shaping of the root canals.  The second stage of the process involves filling and sealing the inside of the root canal to prevent future infection.  When this process is complete, the tooth will often require a crown to cover and protect it from further damage. 


Does it hurt?

Root canal therapy is almost always done under a local anaesthetic.  This means that you will be numb for the entire process and is virtually pain-free.