What Is Root Canal Treatment?

A root canal treatment, commonly referred to simply as a “root canal,” is a dental procedure designed to treat infection or damage within the pulp (the inner core) of a tooth. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue, and when it becomes irritated and or infected due to deep decay, cracks, trauma, or repeated dental procedures, it can cause severe pain, discolouration of the tooth and even abscesses.

By opting for root canal treatment, patients can preserve their natural teeth, maintain their natural bite, and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting, thereby avoiding more extensive dental procedures in the future.

When Do I Need Root Canal Treatment?

We recommend root canal treatment when the pulp of the tooth, which contains nerves and blood vessels, becomes infected or damaged. Here are a few common root canal symptoms:

  1. Severe Toothache: Persistent pain without an aggravating stimulus may indicate something more serious is happening with the tooth. Pain when chewing or applying pressure to a tooth can also indicate an infection that has progressed further.
  2. Sensitivity: Extended sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, even after removing the temperature stimulus, could signal pulpal irritation and damage.
  3. Discolouration: A darkened or discoloured tooth might signal damage or a slowly dying tooth within.
  4. Swelling and Tenderness: Swelling or tenderness in the gums around a specific tooth can be symptomatic of infection spreading further and becoming an abscess.
  5. Pimple on the Gums: A recurring or persistent pimple on the gums, often filled with pus, known as a dental abscess or fistula, indicates a localised infection spreading beyond the tooth and roots.
  6. Previous Trauma: Trauma to a tooth, even if it occurred months to years earlier, can cause damage to the pulp, warranting a root canal.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to visit a dental professional at Blackburn Family Dental as soon as possible. Delaying treatment can lead to more severe infections, potential tooth loss, and the spread of the infection into surrounding tissues.

What Is The Procedure For A Root Canal Treatment?

Initially, an X-ray determines the extent of damage. After numbing the area with local anaesthesia, the dentist drills a small access hole in the tooth, removes the affected pulp, cleans and disinfects the internal chamber, and reshapes the root canals. The cleaned space is then filled with a biocompatible material, and the access hole is sealed. To restore strength and function, the tooth often requires further restoration, such as a crown. Post-treatment, a follow-up ensures proper healing and checks for signs of lingering infection.

Is A Root Canal Treatment Painful?

Most people report that root canal surgery is similar to having a filling carried out. The root canal dentist will always try and keep you as comfortable as possible throughout. Can any dentist carry out a root canal treatment? Any dentist can carry out a root canal treatment however, if the work is considered more complex, you may be referred to a dentist who has undertaken further training or a root canal dentist (known as an Endodontist).

What To Expect During A Root Canal Treatment

You can expect a thorough and patient-focused process during a root canal treatment at Blackburn Family Dental. The procedure is as follows:

  • Initial Assessment: An X-ray and other additional tests are undertaken to determine the extent of the infection and plan the treatment.

  • Numbing the Area: Local anaesthesia is applied to the affected tooth and surrounding area to ensure a pain-free procedure.
  • Accessing the Tooth: A small opening is made in the tooth to reach the damaged pulp.
  • Removing Damaged Pulp: Infected or inflamed pulp tissue is carefully extracted from the tooth.
  • Cleaning and Shaping: The inner chamber is meticulously cleaned, disinfected, and reshaped to ensure no remnants of infection remain.
  • Filling the Space: A biocompatible material fills the empty chamber to restore the tooth’s structure.
  • Sealing the Tooth: The access hole is filled to prevent future infections.
  • Possible Crown Placement: Depending on the tooth’s condition, your dentist might recommend a crown post-treatment to provide added strength and protection.

The Blackburn Family Dental team emphasises patient comfort and clear communication throughout each step, ensuring you are informed and at ease.

Restoring A Fragile Tooth

Following a root canal treatment, teeth may become more vulnerable due to factors like drilling or previous infections. Cleaning during the procedure can sometimes intensify this fragility. A root canal treatment and crown can help to reinforce and safeguard against potential fractures.



Maintaining A Natural Tooth Shade

Post root canal treatment, some teeth might darken or display discolouration. When a tooth looks notably stained or discoloured, a dental crown can provide a consistent, natural shade, ensuring harmony with your adjacent teeth.

Root Canal Treatment FAQ

Is Root Canal Treatment Painful?

A common misconception is that root canal treatment is a painful affair. However, with advancements in modern dentistry and anaesthesia, the procedure is usually no more painful than getting a standard filling. In fact, the primary purpose of a root canal is to relieve pain caused by inflammation or infection inside the tooth.

Patients might experience mild discomfort or swelling post-treatment, but this is temporary and can be managed with over-the-counter painkillers. With proper care and attention from a skilled dentist at Blackburn Family Dental, the process can be smooth and virtually pain-free.

Aftercare Following A Root Canal Treatment

  1. Pain Management: You may experience mild discomfort or inflammation post-procedure. Over-the-counter pain relief or prescribed medications can be used as directed.
  2. Avoid Hard Foods: Refrain from chewing on the treated side, especially hard or crunchy foods, for a few days to allow the tooth to heal.
  3. Maintain Oral Hygiene: Continue regular brushing and flossing, but be gentle around the treated area to avoid discomfort.
  4. Swelling Management: You can expect minor swelling after your treatment. Use a cold compress on the outside of the mouth for intervals of 15 minutes to reduce it. If you have previous swelling, your dentist may also prescribe additional oral antibiotics to help reduce and eliminate the extent of the infection.
  5. Regular Check-ups: Schedule follow-up visits with Blackburn Family Dental to ensure the tooth heals appropriately and to check whether the placement and fit of a crown are necessary.
  6. Contact Your Dentist: If severe pain persists for more than a few days, or if you notice any signs of an infection like an elevated temperature, contact Blackburn Family Dental immediately.

Remember, the key to prolonging the life of your treated tooth and ensuring its health is a combination of good oral hygiene, regular dental check-ups, and following the prescribed aftercare instructions.

Will I Require Further Work?

After a root canal, the treated tooth can become fragile. A dental crown is typically recommended to protect and restore the tooth’s function. Regular dental check-ups ensure the treatment’s continued success. Occasionally, if decay is extensive, additional procedures like a post or core build-up may be needed before crown placement. Rarely, retreatment or endodontic surgery might be necessary if an infection persists. It’s essential to consult your Blackburn Family Dental dentist for tailored post-treatment guidance.

Is A Crown Necessary After A Root Canal?

A crown is often recommended after a root canal, especially for back teeth (molars and premolars). The treated tooth can become brittle and more susceptible to fractures following the procedure. A crown provides strength, protecting the tooth from further damage and ensuring its functionality.

A filling may sometimes suffice for front teeth, which undergo less biting force. However, your Blackburn Family Dental dentist will evaluate the tooth’s condition and provide a recommendation tailored to ensure its long-term health and durability.

Root Canal vs. Extraction: Which Is The Right Choice?

While root canals aim to preserve your natural tooth, extractions may be a more viable option when the tooth is significantly damaged. Root canals are often the preferred method, but our specialists might advise an extraction followed by other tooth replacement options, such as a dental implant, if a tooth is beyond repair.

After assessing your tooth, our team will suggest the best course of action, prioritising your dental health and comfort. We encourage patients to discuss any concerns before undergoing treatment.

For comprehensive root canal tooth decay treatment in Blackburn, including emergency care and treatments for children, contact Blackburn Family Dental Care at (03) 98772589


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Conveniently positioned for patients seeking cosmetic dental bonding in Blackburn, Box Hill, Burwood, Nunawading, Mitcham, Vermont, Forest Hill, Canterbury & Surrey Hills. Our Blackburn North Dental Clinic is next to Blackburn station via the Belgrave or Lilydale line. Walk towards Main St (2 minutes) and you will see a light blue signage.

Parking is available behind Blackburn Family Dental, entering Main St or alternatively on S parade.

Many buses, including 703 and 765, are also in close proximity to our Blackburn North dental clinic.