Root canal treatment is necessary when a cavity reaches to the nerve of the tooth, or when a tooth is cracked. Sometimes deep fillings or trauma to a tooth may also cause the nerve to be damaged to the point that it requires root canal therapy, or endodontic therapy, which results in eliminating the infection and protecting – and saving – the decontaminated tooth. Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, toothache, swelling, pain when biting, and tooth discoloration. Sometimes, however, no symptoms are apparent and the underlying problems are revealed during a routine check-up.
Root canal treatment is a moderately simple procedure with little or no discomfort. It can take from one to three visits in which the diseased pulp is removed, and the pulp chamber and root canal(s) are cleaned and sealed. A cast crown may be necessary to strengthen the remaining structure.