Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is root canal treatment uncomfortable?

No. Local anaesthetic is used and this prevents discomfort during your appointment. Often it is advisable to take some over the counter analgesics as some patients have discomfort after the appointment. However many patients have no discomfort after root canal treatment.

2. What is root canal treatment?

In the past, once bacteria had entered the centre of the tooth it had to be extracted. The reason for this was that the technology didn’t exist to clean and disinfect the canals inside the root. These canals are often less than 0.06mm wide! Root canal treatment is the cleaning and disinfecting of small channels which run inside the roots of your tooth. The idea is similar to brushing your teeth on the inside.

3. How long does root canal treatment take?

The length of the appointment varies depending on the complexity of the treatment. Some teeth have one canal and some can have up to 5 canals. We will give you guidance on the length of appointment you will need.

4. Why does root canal treatment take so long?

The aim of root canal treatment is to eliminate as many bacteria inside the root canals as possible. When the root canals are narrow it can require time to widen them so that the entire canal is disinfected.

5. How successful is root canal treatment?

If the canals within the root of the tooth are able to be cleaned then the success rate can be as high as 90%. However if there are obstructions to cleaning the root canals such as blockages or ledges the success rate drops.

6. Why can’t my dentist do the root canal treatment for me?

Your dentist does many different procedures and is very capable of doing most of your treatment. However there will be occasions when special equipment and expertise is required to treat your tooth. An Endodontist is a dental specialist who treats only root canal problems, this means they have specialised equipment and vast experience in this area.           

7. Do antibiotics get rid of the infection?

Generally the bacteria causing the disease are within the tooth. This is the reason why antibiotics don’t help.

8. If there is no nerve in my tooth how can it be uncomfortable?

After treatment it is normal to have discomfort and even some swelling after the appointment for a number of days. Especially in teeth which have been bothering the patient previously. If your tooth has already had root canal treatment but is uncomfortable bacteria inside the tooth may still be irritating the immune system around the end of the root.