Root canal treatment is a dental procedure which involves treating infection in the centre of the tooth.
Teeth have a nerve supply which enables us to sense pain, pressure, hot and cold. The nerve is contained in the core of the tooth extending into canals which are based in the roots of the teeth. If this nerve supply is affected through tooth decay, trauma or gum disease it can result in the nerve becoming exposed and infected which can result in a pain. Therefore, endodontic treatment, also known as root canal treatment is needed and involves using delicate instruments to gently clean out the root canals, remove any exposed or infected nerve tissues and wash them all out to ensure the root canal is clean. Once they have been adequately cleansed, a rubber type filling material is placed within the canal system to ensure that bacteria cannot re-enter the tooth and that it can then be restored to normal function. The success rates are generally very high.
Without root canal treatment the only other alternative is to remove the tooth and leave the space, or replace it with either an implant, bridge or removable denture. Whilst these alternatives can be very successful, they do not compare to a natural tooth.