If you're experiencing pain such as toothaches, tenderness or swelling, it's important to check with your dentist before it gets worse.

Root canal treatment is typically needed when there is an infection or inflammation at the roots of the tooth. This damage of infection can be caused by untreated decay, decay under fillings, tooth damage or gum disease. This procedure is used to relieve pain and steer clear of needing the tooth to be extracted.

The dentist will need to remove the pulp from the root, clean, disinfect and shape the root canals, then fill the space with a rubber material. The procedure is completed over 2-3 stages and it may take longer depending on how many roots the particular tooth contains.

Once the root canal treatment is completed the tooth structure is usually weakened, therefore our dentists suggest covering and protecting it with a crown. These are all preventative measures to avoid further complications in the future.

Our dentists are always open for discussion in what the best option is for you and how to maintain your oral health. If root canal treatment is avoided or postponed, an infection may occur and this can spread to the jaw and cause pain.

If you are suffering from symptoms such as toothaches, hot or cold sensitivity or swelling/tenderness in gums call us today to book an appointment and save your smile!


A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected.

During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and abscesses may form.

“Root canal” is the term used to describe the natural cavity within the centre of the tooth. The pulp or pulp chamber is the soft area within the root canal. The tooth’s nerve lies within the root canal.

Signs of the need for root canal therapy include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, tenderness to touch or chewing, discolouration of the tooth and/or swelling or tenderness in the gum area. 

You may need a root canal if you have a severe toothache, usually along with swelling in your jaw around your tooth.

When a tooth’s nerve tissue or pulp is damaged, it breaks down and bacteria begin to multiply within the pulp chamber. The bacteria and other decayed debris can cause an infection or abscessed tooth. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms at the end of the roots of the tooth.

An abscess occurs when the infection spreads all the way past the ends of the roots of the tooth. In addition to an abscess, an infection in the root canal of a tooth can cause:

  • Swelling that may spread to other areas of the face, neck, or head
  • Bone loss around the tip of the root
  • Drainage problems extending outward from the root. A hole can occur through the side of the tooth with drainage into the gums or through the cheek with drainage into the skin.

Saving your natural teeth is the very best option, if possible. Your natural teeth allow you to eat a wide variety of foods necessary to maintain proper nutrition. The root canal procedure is the treatment of choice.

The only alternative to a root canal procedure is having the tooth extracted and replaced with a bridge, implant, or removable partial denture to restore chewing function and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting.

These alternatives not only are more expensive than a root canal procedure but require more treatment time and additional procedures to adjacent teeth and supporting tissues.

For the first few days following the completion of a root canal, the tooth may feel sensitive due to natural tissue inflammation, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. 

This sensitivity or discomfort usually can be controlled with over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve). Most patients can return to their normal activities the next day.

Until your root canal procedure is completely finished — that is to say, the permanent filling is in place and/or the crown, it’s wise to minimize chewing on the tooth under repair. 

This step will help avoid recontamination of the interior of the tooth and also may prevent a fragile tooth from breaking before the tooth can be fully restored.

Can’t find the answer you need?
Please contact us directly on (07) 3841 6641 or email us at [email protected].

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