Root canal treatment (also called endodontic treatment) is the procedure dentists use to treat an infected nerve within a tooth. The infection is caused by bacteria which are able to reach the nerve either because of decay, a fracture, a leaking filling or a trauma to the tooth. Without treatment, these teeth would need to be removed.
Patients who need root fillings are usually in pain, however sometimes the infection can be symptomless. In these cases it will very often be your dentist who will notice signs of infection during an examination. These cases can then be treated quickly before any pain sets in, preventing any risk of tooth loss.
If you have been told you need a root canal procedure this means that your dentist has found an infection within your tooth which needs to be treated as soon as possible in order to reduce the risk of tooth loss. Root canal treatment is carried out to try and save a tooth that might otherwise be lost due to infection.
Root canal treatment involves a thorough cleaning of the inside of the tooth (the root canal system). The area is then carefully filled to prevent re-infection. The exterior of the tooth can then be restored with either a filling or a crown to return it to its regular appearance.