Endodontic Treatment (Root Fillings)

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.

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.

Today’s treatment is very different.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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