Endodontic treatment is concerned with the fine space inside the tooth called the root canal. This small area contains the dental pulp which is made up of nerves and blood vessels and other connective tissues.
If the dental pulp becomes diseased or dies it may result in a toothache or abscess. Sometimes there may be no apparent cause but all of the above can result in pain and root canal treatment is most often needed for the relief from this pain and to prevent further problems. During treatment the health of the dental pulp and the surrounding tissues will be assessed with the help of a clinical examination, radiographs and special tests, as sometimes it may be difficult to identify the exact tooth which is causing the problem.
A cavity will be cut through the chewing surface of the tooth to gain access to the root canal(s). The root canal(s) will be cleaned, shaped, and therefore disinfected with fine dental instruments. Then the root canals will be sealed near to their tip with an inert filling material called gutta-percha. The tooth will finally be restored back to its original function.
This treatment may take several visits and the tooth will have a temporary dressing between sessions. The treatment will be made as painless as possible using local anaesthetic and painkillers. Teeth requiring root treatment will often have had very large restorations in them previously or have been badly damaged. In order to restore them adequately and protect the root filling from further infection a cast cuspal coverage restoration (crown) is strongly recommended, particularly in posterior teeth.