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Root Canal Treatment


Root canal treatment (endodontic treatment) is another option for the treatment of the / damaged teeth where the pulp tissue have been infected / dead (non-vital) so that it wont be extracted and can remain functional in the mouth.

What teeth may need root filling?

  • Severedly decayed tooth or deep filling affecting the tooth pulp

  • Dead (non-vital) tooth

  • Tooth that have large filling and indicated for crown may require root canal treatment to be carried out first to facilitate space for post placement and retention of filling/ crown

Why is root filling needed?

Root filling is done so that the natural but infected tooth can be cleaned, treated and further remain in the mouth to maintain natural bite and healthy function of jaws.

What are the consequences of not performing treatment?

  • Discomfort or pain could worsen

  • Infection and abscess of the affected tooth

  • The tooth may need to be extracted and normally need replacement

The procedure

  • The treatment may take one to two or more appointments depending on the difficulty of the case

  • Periapical radiograph will be taken prior to treatment to evaluate the number and condition of the root (Picture 1)

  • Caries at enamel and dentine will be removed and cleaned first (Picture 2), then the infected / dead pulp tissue will be removed from the canal. The canal will be shaped (Picture 3 & 4) and cleaned with disinfectant (Picture 5) and subsequently filled with medication and the crown part of the tooth will be temporarily filled / dressed

  • At the next visit , the canal will be recleaned and filled / obdurated with canal filling material (gutta Percha) if there is no sign or symptom (Picture 6).

  • Tooth will be permanently restored following root canal treatment.

Picture 1 : Periapical Radiograph
Picture 2 : Caries at crown area removed
Picture 3 : Canal shaping
Picture 4 : Shaped canals
Picture 5 : Canal cleaning
Gambar 6 : Filled / obturated canals

What about aftercare?

Root filled teeth should be treated just the same like any other teeth.

Remember to :

  • Brush at least twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste

  • Limit the frequency of sugary snacks

  • Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups


  1. Is the treatment painful?Ans: The treatment is usually painless. However, a local anaesthetic normally will be given when vital pulp remnants remain.
  2. What complications that may arise?Ans: You may experience bleeding, pain, swelling or discomfort. Infection may also occur but this can be treated with recleaning and pain killers. Antibiotic will only be prescribed if there is systemic involvement such as fever.
  3. Do I always need a crown after root filling?Ans: Root-filled teeth do not always need to be restored with a crown. Crowning is only necessary when the tooth has been weakened by extensive tooth loss.
  4. Where can I get this treatment?Ans: You can go to any nearby dental clinic for consultation and advice.


Last Reviewed : 20 March 2015
Writer : Dr. Nor Ziana bt. Ibrahim
Accreditor : Dr. Chua Meei Jinn