Root canal treatment is used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected. Root canal procedures are performed if a pulp (soft tissue inside the tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves) in one of the teeth becomes injured or infected. There are many signs that a root canal may be needed. They include severe toothache pain upon chewing, prolonged sensitivity to heat and cold temperatures, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums. Sometimes there are no symptoms present.
Treatment involves one or more visits and there are several steps in the process of endodontic treatment that the dentist will perform to save your tooth. It is very important to follow your dentist's directions regarding the scheduling of your dental appointments so that your root canal treatment will be successful. Because a tooth that needs a root canal often is one that has a large filling or extensive decay or other weakness, a crown and post often needs to be placed on the tooth to protect it. This will prevent the tooth from breaking and will restore it to its full function. The need for any additional dental work will be discussed with you by the dentist.