Root canal treatment is a dental procedure to treat infection at the centre of a tooth (the root canal system). Your teeth have a core of blood vessels and nerves at their centre. This living tissue is called the pulp and it's in a space called the root canal. The number of root canals a tooth has varies, depending on how far back the tooth is in your mouth. Your front teeth often have just one root canal, whereas your back teeth may have three or more.

If your tooth's pulp becomes damaged, the blood vessels may die. This results in a 'dead' tooth, which is more likely to get infected because it's no longer protected by your immune system (the system that defends your body against infection and other harmful substances). The infection usually caused by bacteria that live in the mouth and invade the tooth when:

Tooth decay occurs Filling Gingivitis Teeth damaged by injury or fall

How do I know if I need Root Canal Treatment?

Your tooth might need a root canal if:

It hurts when you bite down on it, touch it or push on it It is sensitive to heat It is sensitive to cold for more than a couple of seconds There is swelling near the tooth It is discoloured (whether it hurts or not) It is broken

What is involved in Root Canal Treatment?

First, your dentist will numb the area around the tooth. Your dentist also has other ways to reduce your anxiety. The dentist will make a hole in the top or back of your tooth to get to the pulp chamber. He or she will remove some of the diseased pulp and measure the root canal. Your dentist needs to know how long the canals are to make sure the entire canal is cleaned. He or she also needs to know how much filling material to put in the cleaned canals.

Your dentist may use X-ray's to measure the canal. After the canals have been measured, your dentist will use special tools to clean out all of the diseased pulp. Then the canal is cleaned with antiseptic. This helps treat and prevent infection. Once the canals have been thoroughly cleaned, the roots are filled. A temporary filling is then placed over the tooth. The top of the tooth is subsequently then be covered with a permanent filling. In most cases, the tooth will need a crown. A crown will help to restore the tooth's strength and protect it from cracking. Crown should be placed soon after having root canal treatment as this prevents the fracture of teeth and prolongs life to your teeth.

How will you feel after Root Canal Treatment?

You will usually be able to go home when you feel ready. After a local anaesthetic it may take several hours before the feeling comes back into your mouth. Take special care not to bump or knock your mouth or bite your tongue, particularly when you're speaking, drinking or eating. You may need pain relief to help with any discomfort as the anaesthetic wears off. If you need pain relief, you can take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. You may find that the tooth that was treated changes colour slightly. This is normal and it can be treated. The pulp that was removed during root canal treatment is the part that responds to temperature. Your tooth will no longer be sensitive to hot or cold after the root canal is treated. There still are tissues and nerves around the tooth, however, so it will respond to pressure and touch.

After your treatment, it's important that you take care of your repaired tooth as you would any other. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and visit your dentist regularly.

After root can treatment the tooth is dead and likely to break and dentist will advice to have a protective cap to protect this and improve longevity of tooth.