Root Fillings

Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 January 2021

 Root Fillings 

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What are they?

Teeth are held in the jaw by their roots. Front teeth normally have one root but further back have more.

Inside, the tooth pulp should be alive, with nerves and a blood supply in the root canal. Decay or injury can destroy this living part and might also cause an abscess at the end of the root.

Root filling means removing damaged or dead pulp and filling the left space. The remaining tooth can be repaired.

What does my dentist do?

  • Any signs of infection in the surrounding bone, and to see the shape of the root canals they use an X-ray image.
  • To keep the canals dry during treatment the dentist may stretch a sheet of thin rubber round the tooth. On a metal frame outside the mouth. This shouldn't be uncomfortable.
  • The dentist uses narrow files to find a root canal and remove the dead pulp;
  • Another X-ray can show whether all the dead pulp has been removed;
  • Roots are filled with rubbery materials and with pastes which set hard.

A root filling could need more than one visit. You might not need a local anaesthetic for a root filling if the pulp is dead, but the tooth could still be tender for a day or two afterwards. You might need to take a mild pain killer.