Root canal(endodontic) treatment is a dental procedure used to treat an infection in the pulp (the blood and nerve supply of the tooth). The infection can appear following untreated tooth decay or when the tooth is damaged by trauma or when it cracks as a result of overloading. This can be painless in the early stages and in some cases the tooth could darken in color, which means the nerve of the tooth ‘has died’. More commonly, it causes the tooth to become painful and, in extreme circumstances, it can lead to swollen face or abscess. Once the infection is present it can’t heal and the only solution to treat it is by having root canal treatment; alternatively the tooth will have to be removed.
The aim of the root canal treatment is to remove all infection from the canals. The root is then cleaned, filled and sealed to prevent further infection. This may procedure requires two or more appointments. At the first appointment the dentist will remove the infected pulp, and the infection will be drained. A temporary filling is the placed and the tooth is left to settle for two weeks. At a later appointment, the tooth is permanently filled and then a filling or a crown is placed. The root canal treatment can be done in some occasions in one appointment only.
The root canal treatment is commonly successful, but is some circumstances the infection can reoccur. Tooth infection will not go by itself and can not be treated with the antibiotics either.