Endodontic treatment (such as Root Canals) is carried out when the soft pulp tissue contained in the centre of a tooth becomes diseased or dies.
Some common reasons for this include deep cavities, cracks/chips, or other tooth trauma. Indications that treatment is required include prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discolouration of the tooth, and swelling or tenderness of the tooth or its surrounding gums. If left untreated this can lead to inflammation and infection, potentially causing an abscess in the surrounding jaw bone and intense pain.
A root canal treatment is used to repair and ‘save’ a tooth that has become infected. The treatment involves removing the diseased pulp tissue (nerve and blood vessels) from the centre of the tooth – the ‘root canal’. The canal is carefully cleaned and shaped prior to being filled, which helps prevent re-infection. The pulp tissue is not important to a tooth’s health and function after the tooth has fully emerged from the gums.
If endodontic treatment is not performed, pus can continue to accumulate at the root tip and the infection of the pulp tissue can then spread to the surrounding bone. Not only does this result in significant pain and swelling, but your tooth will likely have to be removed completely.