When the tissue inside the tooth that contains the nerve and blood vessels is diseased or injured, a root canal treatment may be necessary to save the damaged tooth. Otherwise, bacteria can cause infection inside the tooth which can then spread into the surrounding bone and tissues. This is extremely painful and can also cause swelling of the face.
Root canal procedure is carried out within the root canals of the tooth. When the nerve and the blood vessels ‘die off,’ (usually due to bacterial infection) then the canals need to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to a special sealant being inserted to prevent any further bacterial contamination. Root canal treatment is often necessary for other reasons such as severe or chronic trauma, and when the tooth is so deteriorated that the root canals are needed to support the final restoration.
A root canal treatment may require a few visits, depending on the amount of infection already present. Front teeth may only have one canal while the treatment can involve four or more canals on the back teeth.
Teeth that have undergone root canal treatment are often weakened. Sometimes, the placement of a crown is advised to help protect the tooth against fracture.