The aim of root canal treatment [or endodontic treatment] is to save a tooth which has had the nerve [pulp] damaged by decay or injury.
Root canal treatment is possible in situations where the tooth can be eventually restored and return to normal function. In some situations however, root canal treatment is not an option and the tooth needs to be extracted.
Root Canal Treatment Procedure
A local anaesthetic is administered and a rubber dam is placed to isolate the tooth to be treated. An access or opening is made through the tooth and using special files, the damaged nerve [pulp] is removed. Xrays are taken at various checkpoints during the treatment. Each tooth channel or canal is cleaned and shaped using special files of increasing size. Antibacterial medicines are placed within the canals between appointments to facilitate healing.
At the final appointment, the root canals are filled with a biologically compatible material and the tooth can then be restored and electively crowned.
The tooth can now function pain-free. The outside of the tooth and gum continues to be nourished by the jaw tissues, even though it is non-vital or “dead”. Root canal treated teeth are still prone to tooth decay and need to be cleaned and maintained just like natural teeth.