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What are root canals? A guide from our dentist

When you have suffered a dental abscess, it will likely be so etched into your memory for all the wrong reasons that you will want to take as many proactive steps as you can to prevent another one from occurring!

Our dental team will be happy to help you ensure that you do not have another dental abscess in the future, but the most popular option for those who do not require a dental extraction to prevent dental abscesses is a root canal. Sorry!

When you come to us at Dentist on Glasgow, our general dentist for Whanganui, New Zealand will always aim to save as many teeth as possible. If you have recently had a dental abscess and the tooth does not require extraction, this will only leave us with one option, which is endodontic treatment, also known as a root canal.

Before you panic, we believe that knowledge is also power and the more you know about having a root canal, the better you will feel about the entire process. So, in this article, our general dentist for Whanganui, New Zealand breaks them down for you.

Why would a root canal be needed?

Our general dentist for Whanganui, New Zealand would be more inclined to offer you a root canal if you had had a dental abscess and if the tooth that the abscess was underneath was in good condition. If the tooth that the abscess is under has severely deteriorated through dental decay, this will usually require extraction. If the tooth is healthy, then our team will aim to correct the abscess and restore the tooth. In some instances, you may have suffered trauma to your mouth or face, which may have caused a tooth to split and warrant a root canal.

How is it performed?

Our team will want to take an x-ray of your jaw to assess the size of the abscess. After this, we will numb the area and begin drilling down through the top of the tooth to reach the root. Once there, we will use a set of specialised brushes to remove all of the infected material; this can be quite an extensive process, especially if it is being performed on a molar tooth. Once the tooth is clean, we fill the space we have made with a rubber substance called gutta-percha and top the tooth with either a filling or a crown.


For a few days after you have had a root canal, it is likely to be quite sore; this is entirely normal and should fade on its own. If it doesn't or you notice that the discomfort is getting worse, you will need to call our team to have a follow-up assessment, as the abscess may be recurring.

Potential complications

One of the potential complications of a root canal is that the abscess recurs. If you are having a root canal performed on molar teeth, which have long or twisted roots, this may be very difficult for our team to navigate; therefore, we may need to refer you to an endodontic specialist.


The lifespan of a root canal is long! It is underneath the tooth and not subject to potential issues that may occur in the mouth. But you will need to ensure that the tooth that the root canal is underneath is maintained with regular visits to see our team.


All treatment carries risks. Individual consultation is required with one of our practitioners to ensure that the treatment is right for you.

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