Root Canal Treatment
Teeth are held in the jaws by their roots. Front teeth normally have one root, but teeth further back have more.
At the core of each tooth is a soft mass of tissue called the pulp. In a healthy tooth the pulp contains living fibres, cells, nerves and a blood supply, extending into the root(s) through the root canal.
Decay or injury can destroy the living pulp. Because dead pulp lacks a blood supply, it is more prone to infection, leading to a toothache and an abscess.
Root canal treatment (also known as root filling or endodontics) means removing damaged or dead pulp and flling the space left. The remaining tooth can then be restored.
Root filled teeth can become darker than other teeth, however treatment options for this can be discussed.
Pulp damage can cause toothache but the pain will usually end very quickly when/once the root canal is cleaned out.
Without a root filling, a tooth with a dead pulp would propbably have to eventually be extracted. There is also a possibility of infection spreading beyond the tooth itself.
Root fillings are usually successful and can last many years, but somethimes re-treatment is also possible if infection re-ocurrs. Occasionally, if inflammation persists at the tip of the root, surgery can be carried out to remove part of the root, clean the area and put in a filling, this is known as an apicectomy.