Root canal therapy (or endodontics) can save an infected tooth from needing to be extracted and also stops the infection in its tracks. The treatment involves removing the infected pulp from the innermost part of the tooth.
The pulp is made up of soft tissue, including nerves and blood vessels, and extends from the crown to the tips of the root. Damage to the pulp is normally caused by decay, a deep filling or trauma to the tooth. Symptoms can include pain, increased sensitivity to temperature, discolouration of the affected tooth, a metallic taste, gum tenderness or swelling.
Root canal therapy usually requires several appointments and will depend on the type of tooth being treated. When the tooth has been prepared, it will be covered and temporarily restored until the next appointment.
If looked after properly, your root canal treated tooth should remain trouble-free. Even though the pulp has been removed, the tooth will stay intact as the canals have been sealed and re-infection prevented. Regular check-ups are recommended so any problems can be detected early.