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When is a root canal necessary?

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When is a root canal necessary?

Root canal treatment is a standard dental procedure many people need at some point in their lives. This blog will give you an insight on root canal treatment, why they are necessary and what to expect during treatment. If you are considering root canal treatment, be sure to speak with your dentist to learn more about this procedure and whether it is right for you.

What is a Root Canal

A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or infected. The procedure involves removing the nerves of the tooth, cleaning and disinfecting the root canal, and then filling and sealing it. Sometimes, a root canal may be combined with other dental procedures, such as a crown or bridge. Root canal treatment can be used to treat both primary (baby) teeth and permanent teeth. Treating an infected tooth as soon as possible is vital to avoid further damage to the tooth and surrounding tissues. If you think you may benefit from a root canal treatment, contact your dentist for an evaluation.

When is a Root Canal Needed

A root canal treatment is often required when the nerve tissue inside the tooth becomes damaged or infected. This might have happened as a result of tooth decay, trauma to the tooth, or other injuries. The infection occurs when bacteria enter the tooth through a crack or cavity. Once the bacteria reach the pulp (the centre of the tooth), they can cause an abscess (a pocket of pus). If left untreated, an abscess can damage the bone around the tooth and lead to tooth loss.

If you have an infection in your tooth, it is important to see your dentist as quickly as possible for them to determine if a root canal treatment is right for you.

Purpose of a Root Canal

A root canal treatments’ main aim is to remove the infected or damaged nerve tissue and carefully clean and seal the tooth. In some cases, a root canal may be performed before a crown or bridge is placed to prevent any issues arising after the crown is fitted. In addition, for some orthodontic treatments, a root canal may be performed before treatment begins to ensure that the tooth is healthy and able to withstand the forces of orthodontic treatment. Having a root canal before orthodontic treatment can help reduce your risk of complications.

An infection in your tooth can cause severe damage to the surrounding bone and tissue and lead to tooth loss. Symptoms of an infected tooth may include severe pain, swelling, redness, and heat. If you notice any of these symptoms, you must see a dentist as soon as possible. Infections can affect other teeth, so getting treatment is important before the problem worsens. 

Root Canal Procedure

Root canal treatments are almost always completed in one visit, but there are cases where separate visits are necessary.  

The dentist or orthodontist will start by numbing the tooth with a local anaesthetic, then placing a device called a ‘rubber dam’. A rubber dam’s purpose is to isolate the tooth receiving the treatment and protect the surrounding teeth. It is also essential in protecting the mouth and throat from the files used. Next, a metal clamp is placed around the tooth, and a hole is cut into the rubber sheet. This hole is then stretched over the clamp, exposing the tooth. The rubber sheet is then secured to a metal frame that surrounds the mouth but does not cover the nose.

The canals are then accessed by the dentist, opening the tooth and then using special instruments called ‘files’ to remove the damaged tissue and nerve. At this stage, the dentist will place medication into the canals to help get rid of any infection or bacteria. Once clean, a temporary filling will be placed, and another appointment will be booked to complete the second stage.

During this appointment, the temporary filling will be removed, the canals will be recleaned, and the files may be used again to shape the canals. Your dentist will also use an ‘apex locator’ device to find the tip of the canal. This is to ensure that the whole canal is cleaned and sealed properly. Once the tooth has been cleaned, root canal filling material is placed in the canals, and the cavity will be sealed with a filling. Sealing the cavity helps to protect the tooth from future damage. Root canal treatment can help save or prolong a damaged tooth’s life and prevent further damage to the surrounding teeth. In most cases, the treated tooth will function like any other tooth. However, once the root canal is finished, you may be advised to have a crown placed; once the nerves have been removed and the canals have been prepared, the tooth becomes more fragile than it once was. Having a crown placed will help protect the tooth from the force of biting and chewing.

Aftercare of a Root Canal

A root canal-treated tooth requires extra care to prevent further damage and keep it healthy. See below how you can care for a root canal-treated tooth:

  • Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Make sure to brush gently but effectively to avoid damaging the tooth.
  • Floss daily to remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth. Again, be careful not to damage the tooth.
  • Visit your orthodontist or dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. This will help ensure that the root canal-treated tooth is healthy and free of infection.

By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that your root canal-treated tooth remains healthy for years to come.


If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, booking a consultation at Frederick Orthodontic Clinic as soon as possible is essential. Our team will assess the damage during your appointment and determine if root canal treatment is necessary. This procedure can be complex, but our team will work diligently to ensure you experience minimal discomfort. Frederick Orthodontist Dublin 1 understands that this may seem like a daunting process, but we want to assure you that our team of specialists has years of experience providing quality care. So contact us today to schedule your consultation, and let us help you get on the path to restoring your smile!