Root Canal Fact Sheet

What is root canal treatment (RCT)?
  • Root Canal Treatment is the removal of infected or inflamed pulp in the root canal system of a tooth.
  • The root canal system extends from the crown of the tooth to the bottom of the root.
  • The pulp refers to the soft tissue at the centre of the tooth.
  • RCT is generally a multi stage procedure.
  • Appointments are scheduled 3-4 weeks apart to allow for a healing response.
Signs that your tooth might have an infection:
  • Experience pain when eating or drinking hot or cold food and drink.
  • Experience pain when biting or chewing.
  • Your tooth is loose.
  • You have swollen gums
  • You have pus oozing from a tooth
  • Facial swelling
  • A tooth has become darker in colour


What are your options if your tooth is infected?
  • There are essentially two treatment options for an infected tooth.
  1. Extraction
  2. Root canal treatment
  • It must be noted that antibiotics alone are not effective in treating infections.
  • If you do decide to have the tooth extracted, depending on your situation, there are replacement options. These include: dentures, bridges and implants. Alternatively leaving the gap untreated may a viable option. If you require more information on replacement options we are more than happy to discuss these with you.
What are the benefits of RCT?

You get to keep you natural tooth which allows you to have a better bite and more ease with chewing.

What are the risks and complications of RCT?

The majority of RCT’s proceed without any complications or risks. The condition of the teeth, how much biting force/pressure is placed on the teeth and the overall level of oral hygiene can increase the chance of complications or risk. Below are some common and uncommon risks.

Common risks/ complications
  • Mild temporary pain and inflammation of tissues surrounding the tooth.
  • Discoloration of the tooth-it may become darker in colour and if that’s the case there are procedures which can reverse this and lighten the tooth colour.
  • During RCT the tooth becomes weaker and more prone to fractures. If the tooth does fracture an extraction may be required.
  • It is recommended after RCT to commence crown preparation as crowns are placed over the tooth to reduce the likelihood of fractures.
Uncommon risks/complications
  • During RCT fine metal files are used to clean the inside of the tooth. Sometimes these may break inside the tooth during the procedure. In this situation the tooth may require extraction or specialist referral which will incur further fees.
  • There is a risk of creating a hole in the side of the tooth during the cleaning process; this depends on the size and shape of the tooth though.
  • Some people may experience severe and persistent pain following treatment.
  • Infection may return or the treatment fails and the tooth then requires further treatment or extraction.
What to do if experiencing problems following RCT?

If you are experiencing any of the above issues or are concerned about your tooth after RCT please contact us immediately.

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