Root Canal Therapy
The aim of root canal therapy (also called endodontic treatment) is to save an adult tooth. The dentist’s goal is to relieve any pain which is being caused by inflammation of the nerve or to treat the infection entering the body caused by a dead tooth.
Our priority is to make your visit as pain free and comfortable as possible.
How do I know if I need Root Canal Therapy?
Untreated tooth decay, tooth aches, large fillings, cracked teeth and knocked teeth can lead to the nerve in the tooth dying. As a tooth dies it can often become extremely painful, sometimes described by our patients as more painful than childbirth. A dead tooth, if left untreated, will eventually lead to an abscess forming. An abscess needs specific care and can be life threatening if not treated by a dentist.
Some signs that indicate a tooth may need root canal therapy include
- continuous tooth pain (deep throbbing pain)
- a tooth that is painful to touch or hurts when chewing
- very painful tooth when exposed to hot or cold food/drinks
- discolouration of tooth
- continued pain, often worsening, after having a filling done where very deep decay was removed
- facial swelling
If you are coming in to see one of our dentists because you are in pain, the primary aim of the visit is to get you out of pain. There are many causes of toothache so the fees for this visit are not classed as Root Canal Therapy. If the dentists diagnosis is that you will need an RCT, you may be undecided about saving the tooth or not. This is called palliative care and allows you to carefully consider your options before deciding what you want to do.
How many visits does it usually take for everything to be done?
We hope this information gives you a clear understanding of the number of visits, from start to finish, including the Root Canal Therapy visits.
- Palliative care – first visit (If you are in pain and you need Root Canal Therapy)
- RCT, infected tissue and canals cleaned – second visit
- RCT, canal/s filled – third visit
- Final filling placed – fourth visit
What happens during treatment?
During the treatment, you will be relieved to know that at our practice, the dentist’s utilise modern endodontic equipment, digital radiography and biocompatible root filling material which seal and prevent re-infection. We use sterile, single patient use instruments and aseptic techniques to ensure your protection and give optimal infection control measures for every patient.
Firstly, the dentist needs to get you out of pain or drain the abscess and talk to you about your treatment options. If you decide you would like to keep the tooth you will then be starting root canal therapy (RCT). The dentist will explain any concerns if your case has a variation in the RCT plan, before you reach a definite treatment decision. The dentist can also offer to refer you to an Endodontist if you have an extremely difficult tooth to treat.
- The first RCT appointment is to get the lengths of each root using sterile files and digital x-rays. The root canals are then prepared and shaped using our Protaper X-Smart equipment. This advances system ensures the place inside the tooth where the nerve used to be (or, as we call it, the root canal) is perfectly cleaned and shaped. An antibiotic type of medication is placed inside the root canal and a temporary filling is placed inside the crown of the tooth to seal the medication in, and stop any bacterial from entering and recontaminating the root canal. Over two weeks this medication will slowly permeate through the tooth, disinfecting as it goes. (please see number 2 in the diagram below)
- The second RCT appointment is to remove the medication, using a sonic endo activator. The canals are then thoroughly dried using tiny pieces of sterile absorbent material. A sterile biocompatible filling material is very carefully placed inside the canals and a digital x-ray is taken to ensure it perfectly fills the canal from the very apex or tip of the root, to the end of the canal. This filling material is then fixed in place and completely seals the prepared canals. Any extra material in the crown of the tooth is cleared away and the area tidied. A temporary filling is placed inside the crown of the tooth and another digital x-ray is taken. This ends the root canal therapy. (please see number 3 in the diagram below)
The next appointment will be to place a filling on the tooth therefore returning the tooth to normal function. For badly broken down teeth, pins or posts can be placed inside it to increase retention to the filling (please see number 4 in the diagram above). The dentist will explain if you need these extra requirements.
How much will Root Canal Therapy cost?
Front teeth usually have 1 root canal, side teeth usually have 1 or 2 root canals and the back teeth can have 3 or more root canals in each tooth.
Our fees are as follows:
- Teeth with one canal = $350.00 per visit
- Teeth with two canals = $450.00 per visit (your tooth may need banding)
- Teeth with three or more canals = $550.00 per visit (your tooth may need banding)
As explained above, root canal therapy, is done in two appointments. As stated above, the fees for palliative care and the final filling to restore function are not included here. Our dentists will always discuss this in full with you before you start any treatment so all of your financial questions are answered.
After Root Canal Therapy…
The dentist may also discuss the need to place a crown to protect the tooth, especially if it has been badly damaged, or to avoid future cracking. Crowns can also be placed over a discoloured tooth to improve its appearance.
For more information about crowns click here