Inside all teeth there is a living soft tissue called dental pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels. When the pulp becomes infected by caries (cavities) or a fracture, it becomes inflamed and needs to be removed from the centre of the tooth and from the canals inside each root. Once the pulp is removed, the remainder of the tooth is filled with a special material.
Root canal treatments weaken the root due to the filing down that is done during the endodontic treatment. For this reason, all teeth that have undergone a root canal treatment need to be protected with a post and a restoration or a crown (cap).
The only alternative to a root canal treatment is the removal of the tooth, which will lead to a more complex treatment such as an implant and fixed prosthesis. Many patients imagine the removal of a tooth is an easy solution for the problem but it is actually more involved and more complex and may well cause problems for the adjacent teeth.
Nowadays the time it takes to complete an endodontic treatment has been greatly reduced and in most cases it is possible to complete the treatment in a single session.
A root canal treatment is an excellent way to save teeth with extensive impairment. Endodontic treatments have a high success index but occasionally it is necessary to redo the treatment due to new infections or to an unsuccessful previous treatment.
The treatment of a tooth does not end with the root canal treatment because the tooth will need reconstruction by means of a restoration, typically the installation of a post and a crown. All teeth that have undergone a root canal treatment require the installation of posts.
Signs of need for a root canal treatment:
- Increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods
- Pain when applying the force of a bite
- Frequent formation of an abscess, a little blister of pus on the gum
- Increased tooth mobility
- Darkening of tooth after trauma