What is the cause of needing root canal?
When the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (known as the pulp) is infected through decay or injury root canal treatment (also called endodontics) is needed. If the nerve of the tooth has died or is dying , your tooth may darken in colour. In the early stages of the infection you may not feel any pain.
Why is root canal treatment needed?
If an infected tooth root is left untreated the infection may spread throughout the root canal system of the tooth. This may eventually lead to an abscess. An abscess is an inflamed area in which pus collects and can cause swelling of the tissues around the tooth.
The symptoms of an abscess can range from dull ache to severe pain and the tooth may be tender when you bite.
If root canal treatment (RCT) is not carried out, eventually this will lead to loss of the tooth.
Does it hurt?
Root canal is normally carried out under local anaesthetic and is no different to having an ordinary filling.
What does it involve?
Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. The aim of the treatment is to remove all infection from the root canal. The infected pulp is removed and the root is then cleaned and filled to prevent any further infection. Any abscesses, which may be present, can also be drained at this time.
What will my tooth look like after treatment?
Usually there is no discolouration, but if this does occur there are several treatments available to restore the natural appearance.
What if I don’t have the treatment?
Once the pulp is destroyed, it can’t heal and it is not recommended to leave an infected tooth in the mouth. The alternative is to have the tooth out. Although some people would prefer an extraction, it is usually best to keep as many natural teeth as possible.