Endodontic therapy (root canal) is conservative treatment used to save diseased or injured teeth. The alternative to root canal is extraction. Typically, a decayed tooth or a tooth with a large filling will begin to ache. The pain may be intermittent and progress to a constant dull throbbing pain or a server ache that may be felt on all teeth on the affected side of the mouth. Sometimes there is no pain but an abscess might be discovered on a routine x-ray.
The pulp is the soft tissue inside the tooth structure. It contains nerves, arteries, veins and lymph tissue. It is contained in the canals located in thin tube-like spaces in the roots and in the pulp chamber located within the crown of the tooth.
When the pulp is diseased or injured and unable to repair itself, it becomes infected. Left untreated, the pulp will die and become necrotic. Pus can build up at the root tip, forming an abscess that can destroy the bone surrounding the tooth. A Root Canal is the removal of the diseased pulp tissue, which will enable the body’s defense system to repair the damage caused by the infection.
After a Root Canal the tooth will need to be restored. Due to the large amount of tooth structure lost from decay and old filling the preferred restoration is a crown. A post may be placed into the root to provide additional structural support.