Root Canal Cairns

Root canal therapy is undertaken to save a tooth that has been damaged by disease, trauma or deep decay

If you have been diagnosed as having a tooth that has an infected, dead or dying pulp, there are some important factors which require your consideration. There are really only three options available to you:

  • Root canal therapy for the tooth
  • Removal of the tooth
  • Surgical apicoectomy to remove the infected root tips and abscess tissue

Root canal therapy is the process where inflamed or dead pulp, which can cause extreme discomfort or pain, is removed and can consequently save the tooth from needing to be extracted. Even though the tooth is damaged and could be extracted, it is always best for your dental health to keep your own natural teeth. Our priority is to save and restore it.

Despite the very highest standard of work, not every root canal treatment succeeds; the procedure has a success rate of over 80%. Reasons for root canal failure include complex root canal morphology, instrument fracture as a consequence of the former, root fracture, and highly virulent infections.

The complex of fine irregular canals containing your nerve winds, twists, branches and re-joins and is physically impossible to completely prepare and sterilise and at times causes fine root canal instruments to bind and fracture despite every effort to avoid this happening. For these reasons, no dentist or endodontist can provide a 100% success rate with these procedures.

Should you choose not to have root canal therapy, the only other option may be to have the tooth extracted. In some circumstances, we may actually advise that you are better off having the tooth removed.


There are times when an old root canal therapy needs to be re-done due to recurrent infection. The prognosis for success is reduced in these cases and we will often recommend that it be re-done by a specialist endodontist to give the highest chances of success.

At times, surgical removal of the tips of the roots called an apicoectomy may be suggested and this procedure maybe done either with or without the need to re-do the old root canal treatment or even from the first root canal treatment.

These procedures are most frequently done by endodontists but can also be done at Future Dental at times, although we still consider the specialist provides the best prognosis.

The only other choice is extraction of the infected tooth, especially if a root is cracked, split or broken.

Removal of the tooth

If you decide to have your tooth removed, you will have some other factors to consider. Your choices after removal of the infected tooth are either to replace the missing tooth or to accept the new gap in your dentition.

In some cases, you will not notice the loss of the tooth very much, and a gap can be left. In most cases, however, you will be strongly advised to replace the missing tooth. This is to prevent the slow but inevitable drifting of the surrounding and opposing teeth. Tooth movement causes food packing and consequent decay and gum disease, and can change your bite leading to possible jaw joint problems. Should you be advised of the need to replace your missing tooth and choose not to do so, we may not provide any warranty on your remaining teeth on that side as tooth movement will effect potentially many teeth.

Usually there are several ways to replace the tooth that you have lost. These options include partial dentures, bridges and implants. We will discuss with you the best possible replacement options for your missing tooth.

We trust that after reading this information, you will be in a much better position to make a decision about how to best manage your dying or infected tooth.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you know if you need a root canal?

Determining if you need a root canal typically requires a professional dental examination and evaluation by a dentist or endodontist (a specialist in root canal treatment). However, there are some common signs and symptoms that may indicate the need for a root canal. Here are a few indications:

  1. Persistent or severe tooth pain, especially when biting or applying pressure.
  2. Heightened sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures that lingers.
  3. Swelling and tenderness of the gums around the affected tooth.
  4. Discolouration or darkening of the tooth.
  5. Presence of a persistent pimple-like bump on the gum near the tooth.
  6. Tooth mobility or looseness.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or suspect that you may need a root canal, it is advisable to schedule an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible for a proper evaluation and appropriate treatment recommendations.

What does a root canal procedure entail?

A root canal procedure, also known as endodontic treatment, is performed to save a tooth that has a severely infected or damaged pulp, which is the soft tissue inside the tooth containing nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. The procedure involves the following steps:

  1. Examination, nerve vitality tests, and X-rays to assess the tooth.
  2. Local anaesthesia to numb the area.
  3. Creating an access hole to reach the pulp.
  4. Removing the infected pulp.
  5. Cleaning and disinfecting the area.
  6. Filling the canals with a material called gutta-percha.
  7. Restoring the tooth with a filling or dental crown. Any back tooth that has lost its healthy blood supply, becomes far more brittle and at risk of deep fractures that can be impossible to restore. This is why a back tooth that has to have had a root canal therapy, always requires a crown to help prevent this fracture.

It’s important to note that the steps of a root canal procedure may vary depending on the tooth’s condition and the dentist’s preferred technique. The procedure aims to alleviate pain, save the natural tooth, and prevent further infection or complications.

Does the procedure hurt?

During a root canal procedure, the goal is to ensure your comfort and minimise any pain or discomfort. Your dentist will typically administer local anaesthesia to numb the area around the affected tooth. This ensures that you won’t feel any pain during the procedure.

While you may feel some pressure or minor sensations during the root canal, you should not experience significant pain. If you do feel any discomfort, you can let your dentist know, and they can adjust the anaesthesia or provide additional numbing medication as needed. Occasionally we see patient with acute pain that requires some advanced techniques to fully numb the tooth.

After the root canal, it is common to experience some mild soreness or sensitivity in the treated tooth and surrounding tissues. This discomfort is usually manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers and typically subsides within a few days.

It’s important to remember that every individual’s pain tolerance and experience may vary. If you have concerns about pain or discomfort during a root canal, you can discuss them with your dentist beforehand. They can address your questions, explain the procedure in more detail, and provide appropriate measures to ensure your comfort throughout the treatment.

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  • Address Ground Floor "Accent on McLeod"
    93-95 McLeod St

    Cairns QLD 4870
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