Root Canal Therapy

What is root canal therapy?

Root canal (or endodontic) treatment is a procedure where the infected pulp is removed from a tooth, enabling a painful or badly damaged tooth to be saved.

The pulp is the soft tissue deep inside a tooth comprised of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. Once a tooth is fully formed it can function normally without a pulp.

After pulp removal, the root canals are cleaned, enlarged and shaped. Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial medications are placed inside the tooth. The root canals are then sealed with a filling material to prevent further infection. The treatment can take several appointments, depending on how complex the tooth is, and the extent of infection.

Usually a crown is fitted soon after treatment to protect, strengthen and seal the tooth.

Why is the pulp removed ?

If the pulp cannot repair itself from disease or injury, it will become inflamed. A cracked tooth or deep cavity can allow bacteria to enter the pulp and cause pulp injury. If the infection is not treated, an abscess can form at the root tip which can result in severe pain. The infection can eventually spread and cause damage to the surrounding bone. The whole tooth may be lost if is not root canal treated.