Endodontic Treatment (Root Fillings)

What happens during the Endodontic procedure ?

The ancient Chinese thought that an abscess was caused by a white worm with a black head that lived inside the tooth. They treated an infected tooth by trying to kill the worm with a medication containing arsenic. Believe it or not but the use of a similar medication was still being taught to use in dental schools in the 1950’s.

The nerve of this tooth is dead and infected, it will need endodontic treatment which can be performed by an endodontist.
Today’s treatment is very different.

It can take one or several appointments to perform the treatment. Initially the tooth is examined and x-rays will be taken. The tooth will then be numbed and a small protective sheet called a dental dam will be placed over the area to isolate the tooth and keep it clean and dry. 

An endodontist or a dentist has made a small hole through which the nerve of the tooth is removed during endodontic treatment.
A small hole is made into the tooth. Small instruments are used to shape the root canals, which are also cleaned by washing them through with various disinfectant solutions.

An endodontist has placed a temporary filling in this tooth after the nerve has been removed and the root filling placed.
Once cleaned and shaped the space is filled with an inert filling material. The most common material is a rubber like material called “gutta-percha”. The tooth will normally have a temporary filling placed. 

Care must be taken not to break or crack the tooth.

Although the treatment is as painless as possible thanks to modern local anaesthetic techniques, there maybe tenderness following the treatment. Over the counter painkillers are usually all that is needed to control the discomfort. 

This tooth has had a crown placed by the dentist after an endodontist has finished the endodontic treatment.
Your dentist will need to permanently restore the tooth, which would usually involve placing a crown. This will protect the tooth and restore its function. With a proper restoration and care a root filled tooth may last a lifetime. Proper dental care includes regular brushing and flossing, proper diet and periodic dental check-ups

This root canal treated tooth needs a post to help support the crown. This may be done by an endodontist.
Sometimes when teeth are particularly broken down, a post may be needed to support the restoration. Your dentist should discuss the planned restoration of the tooth in more detail.

Illustrations reproduced with permission from the American Association of Endodontists