Root canal treatment (also called Endodontics) is needed when the pulp inside your tooth becomes infected through tooth decay or damaged by an injury to your mouth. This infection may spread through the root canal system, which could eventually lead to an abscess, causing a great deal of discomfort. If root canal treatment is not carried out, the tooth may need to be taken out.
The most common causes of pulp damage or death are
- A cracked tooth
- A deep cavity
- An injury to a tooth, such as a severe knock to the tooth, either recent or in the past
Once the pulp is infected or dead, if left untreated, pus can build up at the root tip in the jawbone, forming an abscess. An abscess can destroy the bone surrounding the tooth and cause pain
Does it hurt?
No. Usually, a local anaesthetic is used and it should feel no different to having an ordinary filling done. There may be some tenderness afterwards but this should gradually get less over time.
What if I don't have the treatment?
The alternative is to have the tooth out. Once the pulp is destroyed it can’t heal, and it is not recommended to leave an infected tooth in the mouth. Although some people would prefer to have the tooth out, it is usually best to keep as many natural teeth as possible.