Root canal therapy (Endodontics) is used to treat a tooth with an infected pulp (the soft tissue part in the center of the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels). It is an important procedure to help preserve a tooth that would otherwise require removal. Damage to the pulp may be caused by trauma, cracks, large fillings or deep decay that has been left untreated.
The tooth is first anaesthetised and an opening is made to gain access to the infected nerve. The nerve is removed using special files that are also used to clean and shape the canals. An antibacterial dressing is placed in the canals for one week to kill any bacteria that may be left behind. At the second visit, the canals are filled and the tooth is sealed with a permanent filling. A crown is usually placed to strengthen the tooth as root canal treated teeth are susceptible to fracture.