When you need a

Root canal treatment

A root canal treatment may be needed to remove either a live nerve (root inflammation) or a dead, bacteria-filled nerve (root tip inflammation).

Root canal treatment

When should my tooth be root canal treated?

The need for root canal treatment usually arises when a large hole in the tooth reaches through the dentin and into the nerve.

Root canal treatment may also be necessary if there was previously a deep hole in the tooth and the filling is close to the nerve, causing pain.

In case of accidents and falls where the tooth is hit or if the tooth breaks unintentionally, root canal treatment may also be necessary.

Pain before a root canal treatment

You may experience pain from the nerve of the tooth, but you may also experience pain due to inflammation around the root tip because the inflammation is trapped in a cavity and can't get out.

In teeth that have been treated with a crown/bridge, the tooth nerve can be destroyed and bacteria can subsequently invade the dead tissue, making root canal treatment necessary.

Root inflammation

Inflammation of the nerve can cause toothache. The pain is perceived differently from person to person. The toothache can feel like pain in the neighboring teeth, ear, jaw cavity or be perceived as a headache. As a result, it can be difficult to locate the affected tooth. A nerve inflammation typically causes pain in cold and heat.

Root tip inflammation

The inflammation may be hidden and therefore cause little or no discomfort. The tooth may be sore or feel 'too high' to chew. The tooth may also change color or there may be a small abscess. A root canal infection has the risk of developing into a painful swelling/boil, possibly with fever.

How is root canal treatment performed?

The dentist will apply a local anesthetic and drill a hole in the tooth to access the nerve. In most cases, root canal treatment is painless, but you can always ask for more anesthesia if you need it. The tooth is often protected during treatment with a small rubber sheet. The length of the root is determined using an X-ray and electronic measuring equipment.

The nerve and any bacteria are removed and cleaned out with a root file and disinfectant fluids. In some cases, the treatment can be done in one visit, but two or more visits may be necessary. In this case, the tooth is sealed with a temporary filling.

The tooth root is filled with a plastic root filling material and root filling cement. An X-ray can be taken to check that the root filling is tight.

Finally, a plastic filling is placed and an appointment is made with the dentist to decide when the tooth needs a crown. 

In rare cases, it may be necessary to supplement with painkillers and/or antibiotics. However, antibiotics will not remove a bacteria-filled tooth nerve, so it's important to understand that they alone cannot replace a root canal.

The time after root canal treatment

It's completely normal to experience pain after a root canal treatment. It can last from a few days to a week. Fortunately, very few people experience severe pain, but if you experience persistent or increasing pain, you should contact us.

Root canal treatment is successful in 80-95% of cases. The outcome depends on several factors, including the type of inflammation before treatment begins. We recommend following the tooth with X-rays, as a root tip amputation (minor surgery) may be necessary for some at a later stage.

A root canal treated tooth is also a weakened tooth with a high risk of breaking. Therefore, we recommend that a crown is placed on the tooth afterwards.

What does a root canal treatment cost?

The cost of a root canal depends on which tooth needs root canal treatment. This is because your front teeth usually have one canal, while your molars can have up to four canals.

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