When the nerve of your tooth becomes infected, a root canal treatment allows you keep the tooth rather than having to pull it out. Keeping your tooth helps to prevent your other teeth from drifting out of line and causing jaw problems. Saving a natural tooth avoids having to replace it with an artificial tooth.
Root canal treatment is the process of removing infected, injured or dead pulp from your tooth. The pulp of the tooth is made up of nerves and blood vessels that help your tooth grow and survive. When bacteria enter your tooth through deep cavities, cracks, or flawed fillings, your tooth can become abscessed. An abscessed tooth is a tooth with an infection in the pulp. If pulp becomes infected, it needs to be removed. An abscessed tooth may cause pain and/or swelling, The dentist may notice the infection from an x-ray or from other changes in the tooth. If left untreated, an abscessed tooth can cause serious oral health problems.
During a root canal treatment your dentist will give you local anesthetic(freezing). To protect your tooth from bacteria during treatment the dentist will place a rubber dam around the tooth being treated. The dentist makes an opening in the tooth to reach the root canal system and the damaged pulp. Using very fine dental instruments, the dentist removes the pulp by cleaning and enlarging the canals. After the canals have been cleaned the dentist fills and seals the canals. The opening of the tooth is then sealed with a temporary or permanent filling. After your root canal treatment your tooth has to be restored. The dentist may put a permanent filling or a crown to restore your tooth. The choice of restoration will depend on the strength of the part of the tooth that is left. A back tooth will likely need a crown because chewing puts a great deal of force on back teeth. If there is not enough tooth left, posts may be used to help support the crown. Root canal treatment may be done in one to two appointments. After root canal treatment your tooth may be tender for the first week or two. You can still get a cavity after root canal treatment. Root canal treatment does not protect your tooth from other types of damage. Most root canal treatments are successful. In some rare cases, a second root canal treatment is needed. This is called retreatment. When retreating a tooth, the canal filling is removed, and the canal is cleaned, reshaped, and refilled.