A root canal is the space inside the hard layers of each tooth. This space is filled with soft tissue that includes nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue, called dental pulp. The procedure of removing infected, inflamed or dead pulp from the tooth is called root canal treatment or also, endodontic treatment. If the infection is not removed the bacteria will invade the end of the root canal through the small hole where the blood vessels and nerves enter. This process will continue and it may lead to an abscess presenting severe pain and swelling and the tooth may need to be taken out.
What are the signs of needing root canal treatment?
General signs and symptoms you may notice include
Endodontic treatment is performed by your dentist over two or more visits in which, under local anesthesia, removes the pulp, drains, cleans and enlarges the root canal to finally fill it and seal it. Most of the procedures are successful at saving the tooth and removing the infection. One review of a number of studies found that 90% of root-treated teeth survived from 8 to 10 years.
However, in some rare cases, a second endodontic treatment is needed. This is called retreatment. When retreating a tooth, the root canal filling material is taken out, and the canal is recleaned, reshaped and refilled.