Root canal therapy or endodontic treatment is a procedure to save your tooth by removing inflamed or dying nerve tissue. Although there is a popular myth that root canal therapy is painful, this is not necessarily the case. The majority of people find it feels similar to having a filling replaced in their tooth.
A tooth may need root canal therapy after injury, such as a fractured tooth, or due to decay where there is a deep cavity in the tooth and the bacteria have infected the nerve. The latter can often cause an abscess in the tooth that may appear as a “pimple” on the gum.
The advantage of root canal treatment is that it allows the tooth to be saved whilst alleviating the pain. Root canal therapy is generally performed over 3-4 appointments, during which time the inside of the tooth is disinfected, cleaned and shaped. A temporary filling is placed at the end of each appointment. Multiple x-rays of the tooth are required during the course of treatment and after the root canal therapy has been completed a long term filling will be placed in the tooth.
Once a tooth has had endodontic treatment, it is brittle and at risk of fracturing. To help prevent this, we recommend placing a crown over the tooth to help protect it and improve the prognosis.