Wedding Smiles - Cape Town Dentist - Cosmetic Dentistry


                               Cape Town Cosmetic Dentistry      

  Root Canal Therapy (RCT)


Primarily it is a means of saving a tooth by the removal of the pulp that is found inside every tooth.  Pulp is the term for all the tissues inside the canal, i.e. nerves, arteries and veins.  After the pulp has been removed the tooth can no longer react to its environment and no longer trouble you.  The huge advantage of Root Canal Therapy is that it gives a tooth a second life - an alternative to an extraction.

Root Canal Therapy includes the procedure of filling up the now empty canals that remain after removal of the pulp with special sealants and fillers.  It is a tricky procedure and
sometimes may take numerous appointments to complete.

root canal therapy
An abscess has developed below the
tooth (right). Look at the swelling on the gum tissue (left)


 Tooth fracture or dental decay has exposed the nerve itself

  • The nerve is hypersensitive due to the exposed root surfaces or a prior dental procedure 
  • The nerve has died (a dead nerve will result in the formation of an abscess if it is not removed.) Any bacteria that accumulate in the close pulp chamber or root system will eventually destroy tissues and lead to the formation of liquid (pus). The pus, together with rising pressure inside this close chamber can lead to intense pain and swelling, that typically represent a tooth abscess. Very often NO PAIN is present during the development of a chronic abscess.
root canal therapy 
The only way to remove dead/infected pulp, is to use a series of small files


Discoloration is likely to occur later, but bleaching and crowning are good options to restore the colour to its original state. In the long run the tooth becomes more susceptible to fracture and it is advisable to strengthen the tooth with some form of restoration, usually a crown.


Following Root Canal Therapy the tooth sometimes feels traumatized and tender.  It can also be painful for a few days.  This pain does not originate from inside the tooth, but is itself a response from your body's immune system.  Inflammation takes place in the tissue surrounding the root and causes pain.  Another factor is that if there was an infection, like an abscess, the tooth is more likely to pain afterwards, because of a stronger reaction from your body's immune system.



AFTER the FIRST APPOINTMENT when the canals are still open and unfilled:
  • Take anti-inflammatory medication for the first 1-2 days to alleviate excessive inflammation
  • Your tooth is very weakened, because of the temporary filling.
  • DON'T bite on hard objects or eat hard crusty or sticky food that can damage your tooth
  • The temporary filling is very porous and might flake
  • Very little to moderate pain is still possible when biting down until your final visit


AFTER the FINAL APPOINTMENT and when treatment is complete

  • Expect some pain that can last for about 72-hours.  It can be controlled with anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Make sure your final filling / crown  is not too high in the bite, because this can cause unnecessary discomfort.  Contact your dentist to ease the restoration if necessary. 
  • Report back to your dentist after 6 months for follow up x-rays to determine if everything is still in order.  Sometimes a painless re-infection can occur.
  • Make sure you get a good final restoration /crown within 1 year of the RCT to prevent possible fracture.  (The tooth is now non-vital and will get more brittle in time)  


Contact us for more info on Root Canal Treatments



cosmetic dentistry


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