Millions of teeth are saved every year with root canal treatment (commonly referred to as a root canal).
Patients typically need root canal treatment when bacteria enter the pulp and cause inflammation or infection in the roots of a tooth. The pulp is the soft tissue inside the tooth and is commonly referred to as the nerve.
Bacteria produce pus inside the tooth and when this builds up at the end of a root, an abscess develops. Bacteria enter the pulp as a result of deep decay or fillings, leaky fillings or crowns, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, cracks, fractures or trauma.
Root canal treatment removes the bacteria, along with the damaged pulp by carefully cleaning and disinfecting the inside of the tooth. Finally, the root canals are filled and sealed.
While some cases involve just one visit, others will require two or more appointments. Each appointment typically lasts one to two hours depending on the tooth and its complexity.
After successful root canal treatment, the tooth continues to function normally.