The dentist will x-ray the tooth before the procedure. An x-ray can show the dentist the shape and number of root canals, as teeth can have a number of roots, and some roots are easier to fill than others because of their shape. It will also show any infection in the surrounding bone.
The tooth will need to be kept dry/uncontaminated during the procedure so the dentist may use a rubber dam. A rubber dam is a thin sheet of rubber that is held in place by a frame outside the mouth.
You will be given a local anaesthetic. Then an opening is made through the top of the tooth, down into the pulp to reveal the root canals.
The dentist will remove the dead pulp from the canals and the core of the tooth by using narrow files.
After the root canals are clear the dentist will flush them through with an antiseptic solution to make sure the canals are clear.
The canals are then sealed/filled using a sterile root filling material and a temporary dressing will be placed over the top.
The treatment will be then finished at a follow up appointment where the tooth is filled with a permanent filling material and depending on the treatment plan discussed the dentist might prep the tooth and take impressions for a crown.
Without a root filling a tooth with a dead pulp will have to be extracted at some point. The infection can also spread beyond the tooth if left untreated.
Root fillings are usually successful, and they have around a 90% success rate. Successful root canals can extend the tooth’s life span and improve the prognosis of the tooth. However occasionally the infection can reoccur and the root canal treatment may need to be repeated.