A root canal procedure, also known as endodontics, becomes necessary when the soft tissue inside the root canal of a tooth, known as the pulp, becomes infected.
This type of infection can be caused by a crack or chip in the tooth, deep decay, repeated dental procedures, or an injury. Left untreated, this condition will become very painful and can lead to an abscess. Symptoms of a root canal infection may include:
A root canal treatment involves the removal of the infected pulp. Once the damaged pulp is removed, the inside of the tooth is cleaned, shaped and filled. While many patients feel that a root canal procedure will be painful, in reality, it is a straightforward treatment that will relieve your pain and save the tooth.
During the root canal procedure, your tooth and the surrounding area will be numb. An opening will be made in the top of the tooth. Small, specialized dental tools will be used to clean the pulp from inside the pulp chamber and root canals, and the space will be shaped for filling. Then, the root canals will be filled with a biocompatible material known as gutta-percha. Finally, the tooth will be protected using a temporary crown. During your next visit, a permanent crown will be placed to protect your tooth and restore it to its normal function and appearance.