Root Canal Therapy

What is a root canal?

A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed, well over a million every year in Canada. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need of dental implants or bridges.

At the centre of your tooth is soft tissue called pulp. The pulp is a collection of blood vessels, lymph vessels, and nerves that help build and maintain the tooth. Infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks and chips, or repeated dental procedures (i.e. fillings or crowns). An infected tooth may look ‘broken‘, be sensitive to air, touch, bite, touch, liquids, chewing or anything. Such teeth may have bouts of spontaneous pain (pain out of the blue for no reason). There may or may not be swelling in the cheek or gums near the tooth. Sometimes a bad taste is the only sign a person notices. All of these symptoms are possible signs of an infected. It is also possible for a tooth to be infected but there are no symptoms.

If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist will most likely recommend regular non-surgical root canal treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp and kill the bacterial colonies. The infected pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. This therapy usually involves local anaesthesia and may be completed in one or more visits depending on the treatment required. The success rate for this treatment is about 90% for general dentists and 95+% for endodontists. If your tooth is not amenable to endodontic treatment or the chance of success is unfavourable, you will be informed at the time of consultation or when a complication becomes evident during or after treatment. We use local anaesthesia to eliminate discomfort. Root canal treatment NEED NOT BE PAINFUL. There are many unique ways to attain adequate freezing for even the most infected and painful teeth. We can also provide nitrous oxide analgaesia to help alleviate any sensations or anxiety. You will be able to drive home after your treatment, and you probably will be comfortable returning to your normal routine.

An example of a healthy tooth
Healthy Tooth
A tooth anatomy diagram highlighting pulp dentin and canal
Tooth Anatomy
A visual of tooth inflammation showing tooth decay and a inflamed pulp
A representation of a tooth with its canals cleaned
Cleaned Canals
An illustration of root canal filling of a tooth
Filling Placed
An example of a tooth healed by root canal therapy
Healed Tooth

What happens after treatment?

When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your regular dentist. If our office has placed a temporary filling in the top of the tooth, you need to return to your dentist within 30 days for a permanent filling. Your dentist will review the restorative options with you for this tooth further. It is rare for people to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. However, if you do experience a problem we are available to help; please call our office (604.371.4505). To prevent further decay or gum disease, continue to practise good dental hygiene.

How much will it cost?

The cost associated with this procedure can vary depending on factors such as the severity of damage to the affected tooth and which tooth is affected. Endodontic treatment is less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with an artificial tooth (i.e. implant).