Root Filling – Dental Treatment

Introduction –Root Filling

Root canal treatment is required in dentistry when the nerve or blood supply of the tooth pulp becomes damaged, degenerated or infected, usually due to dental decay or heavy blow on the tooth. In this treatment, the diseased pulp is removed; the root canal is thoroughly cleaned and then filled to prevent any further infection occurring at that site. Some teeth have a single canal but may have two, three or more canals. Each canal needs to be treated.

All dentists can perform root filling, but in complicated cases the dentist refers to another specialist in endodontist.

Purpose of root filling:

If the damaged pulp is left untreated, it can become acutely infected, leading to an abscess, and significant discomfort in teeth. Once the pulp is destroyed, it cannot recover on its own. Finally due to lack of drainage, the tooth needs to be extracted. Therefore this treatment is essential and most people prefer root canal treatment rather than tooth extraction.

Procedure of root filling:

Root filling is a very skilled and detailed procedure. The patient is injected using a local anaesthetic medication at the site of filling. The first step is to treat any acute infection, which may involve antibiotics. Also removal of the damaged pulp is done. Any abscess present may also be drained at this time. The rest of the oral cavity is isolated from the site by placing a rubber dam or protective layer around the tooth. With the help of powerful antiseptic irrigant and a range of extremely fine instruments, the endodontist cleans out the root canal or canals. All traces of the infected pulp are removed, thus making it ready for the filling. X-rays are needed to judge the size of the root canals accurately.

If performed properly, this endodontic treatment usually is permanent.
At first visit, usually a temporary filling is placed in the root using a special filling material and the tooth left to heal. At next visit the tooth is examined again for any remnants of infection and a permanent root filling is placed in the root canal to seal it up and prevent recurrence of infection. Standard time required for treatment in each visit is about 90 minutes each, but the time can vary depending on condition of the pulp and skill of the dentist. Some endodontists prefer to do the root filling treatment in a single visit, especially in case of damaged pulp instead of infected pulp. The steps of single visit root filling are:

  1. An access hole is created.
  2. The canal is cleaned and shaped using file.
  3. Empty root canal is filled.
  4. After this, permanent filling or crowning is done.

Appearance after root filling:

In modern dentistry, the newer techniques and materials are used in root filling, therefore there is no darkening or discoloration of the tooth in this process as it used to happen in the past. Even if discoloration occurs, the tooth can be treated to restore the natural appearance.


If performed properly, this endodontic treatment usually is permanent. However, in case of recurrence of infection, it may be repeated to achieve a better seal or in some cases a surgical procedure called an apicectomy may be needed. A root filled tooth dries out and usually becomes more brittle. Hence, it should be protected by a crown or an onlay that covers the cusps of the tooth.

Care for a root filled tooth:

After filling, the tooth should be cared for in the same way as the natural teeth. Usual oral hygiene practices such as cleaning with toothbrush at least twice-daily using fluoride toothpaste and regular flossing are recommended. Sweat snacks and drinks to a minimum. At least two dental visits to the dentist should be paid for regular checkups to ensure that any new problems can be diagnosed and treated early. Chewing sugarfree gum for about 20 minutes after meals has been postulated to reduce the decay of tooth.

- Link of interest: Twitter Root Filling – Dental Treatment.


This article is not medical advice nor a substitute to professional health advice. Always consult a doctor.

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