What is it?
Inside every tooth there is a fine canals known as root canals. These contain the dental pulp, which consists of nerves and blood vessels. If the dental pulp dies or is diseased, people experience toothache or an abscess occurs. Root canal treatment is carried out to save the tooth.
There can be a number of reasons for pulp becoming diseased:
- Deep cavities
- Extreme wear
- Tooth fracture or a crack in the tooth
To improve the chances of success, root canal treatment should start as soon as possible after a problem is identified. For root canal treatment, an access is drilled through the top of the tooth to access the root canal. The infected pulp is then removed and the empty canal is disinfected. The canal is then shaped with fine dental files, washed with a sterilising solution and sealed with a final filling. This treatment can take several visits to complete. If there's an infection present, antibiotics are sometimes prescribed.
The final restoration of the tooth is very important. If the tooth isn't properly restored, bacteria can enter again and cause another infection. Sometimes a crown is recommended to strengthen and seal the tooth properly. Root canal treatment is carried out by a dentist, or sometimes by an endodontic specialist, depending on the complexity.