Root canal treatment is necessary when the pulp (soft tissue inside your teeth containing blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue) becomes inflamed or diseased. If the infected pulp is not removed, pain and swelling can result, and your tooth may have to be removed.
During root canal treatment, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Afterwards, the tooth is restored with a crown or filling for protection. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.
Causes of an infected pulp could include:
- A deep cavity.
- Repeated dental procedures.
- A cracked or broken tooth.
- Injury to the tooth (even if there’s not a visible crack or chip).
Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:
- Efficient chewing.
- Normal biting force and sensation.
- Natural appearance.
- Protects other teeth from excessive wear or strain.
If you continue to care for your teeth and gums your restored tooth could last a lifetime. However, regular checkups are necessary; a tooth without its nerve can still develop cavities or gum disease. Most of the time, a root canal is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort involving one to three visits. Best of all, it can save your tooth and your smile.