Endodontics (canal root treatment)

Dentists currently agree that our natural teeth are the best there are. This is why they do everthing possible to assure you that you won’t lose any. A successful root canal operation will enable you to keep a tooth otherwise you will have no option but to have it extracted. By keeping your natural teeth, you will prevent the other teeth losing their alignment and causing problems with your jaw or your gums due to their receding. Finally, saving them will prevent having to have them replaced by a bridge or an implant. Endodontics is the part of dentistry that deals with the inside of teeth. This entails the treatment and prevention of apical periodontitis.


An endodontist will treat a tooth if it can no longer be saved either because it has died or is going to die. Teeth have three hard layers: the enamel, the cement and the dentine. The space on the inside of these layers is called the canal. The latter is filled with a tissue: the dental pulp. This is a soft tissue containing the nerves and the blood vessels enabling the tooth to develop. If the pulp is infected, it will have to be removed. This treatment is called root canal or endodontic treatment.


The dental pulp can be damaged by a crack in the enamel, deep decay or an accident. Bacteria may enter the tooth infecting the pulp leading to toothache or inflammation. The pulp may also be infected without any toothache. Your dentist will be able to note any changes: in the colour of the tooth, the appearance of the gums, the bone or the root of the tooth thanks to any signs indicated in the X-ray. Sometimes, if a tooth is very damaged, your dentist may conclude, following his examination and the X-ray that the pulp must be withdrawn from the tooth. In all cases, root canal treatment may reduce or even prevent the symptoms from occurring and so save the tooth.


  • Stage 1: The endodontist will place a dam around the tooth to protect it during treatment from bacteria present in the saliva.
  • Stage 2: He may administer a local anaesthetic is there is a risk of pain.
  • Stage 3: Opening the tooth in order to access the damaged pulp
  • Stage 4: The pulp is removed, the canal cleaned and enlarged using precision instruments.
  • Stage 5: The canal is filled and sealed with a plastic material (gutta-percha) mixed with a canal cement.
  • Stage 6: The opening in the tooth is filled with a temporary or permanent material.
The canal root treatment may take one or several visits depending on the complexity of the anatomy of the canal and the extent of the damage caused to the pulp. Sometimes, if the infection has progressed from the tooth to the bone – causing an abscess – the infection will have to be drained before the canal can be sealed. Your tooth may be sensitive one or two weeks after the treatment. It is rare for a patient to experience intense pain or an inflammation; if this is the case, your endodontist will prescribe effective painkillers or anti-inflammatories.