Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by inflammation or infection. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and dental materials are used to restore the tooth to function.
Reasons for root canal therapy:
Decay/Bacteria has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth).
Infection or abscess have developed inside the tooth or at the root tip.
Injury or trauma to the tooth.
What does root canal therapy involve?
A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist).
While the tooth is numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva. An access opening is made on top of the tooth and a series of root canal files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria. If tooth decay is present, it will also be removed with special dental instruments.
Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling will be placed.
Most teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth and help restore function.
You will be given post-operative instructions after each appointment. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits are recommended.