This is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (known as the pulp) is infected through decay or injury. In the early stages of infection patients may not be presented with any symptoms and sometimes the only sign is that the tooth has become discoloured – which indicates the nerve is either dead or dying. However, if the infection spreads to the root system this may lead to an abscess which can cause pain and swelling.
The aim of root treatment is to remove all of the infection from the root canal system by cleaning it out using files and specially designed disinfectants and then sealing it to prevent re-infection. It is a time consuming job and requires a lot of patience and skill to achieve a good end result. It often requires a number of appointments and it should feel no different from having a normal filling done.
As the finished tooth (now dead) is more brittle it is strongly advised to have the tooth re-reinforced with the use of a resin fibre post and crown.