The purpose of a root canal treatment is to eliminate pain, not create it! Root canal treatment is a way of keeping a tooth, once the live part (the pulp) has become irreversibly damaged. The procedure painlessly removes the damaged pulp, under local anesthetic, and removes any infection that may be present. The pulp is a mixture of nerve fibres and tiny blood vessels that can become very inflamed (giving toothache) or die off (causing an abscess). This can happen either in the presence of tooth decay or after a heavy blow to the tooth.
Once the canals have been cleaned and shaped they are filled with a special filling material. This work is usually carried out over two visits of up to 90 minutes a time.
By allowing your tooth to stay in its place your other teeth will remain aligned. Keeping your natural tooth also means you do not have to replace it with an artificial tooth. As long as the tooth is restored properly the tooth will function normally and last just as long as any other natural tooth.
Studies have demonstrated that root canals are very successful. In a 10 year period, less than 10 percent become re-infected and need another treatment. Often it is the restoration of the tooth afterwards that is more critical. On back teeth, it is vital to have a crown placed after a root canal procedure to prevent the tooth from breaking. On the other hand, if the tooth’s structure is compromised before the root canal is completed there is very little chance for long term success. Every effort will be made to ensure a tooth can be adequately restored before root canal treatment is recommended. In some cases, it may be necessary to extract a tooth instead.