Healthy tooth   Root canal treatment
Endodontic Treatment

Endodontic treatment, also known as root canal treatment, is a dental procedure to treat infection at the centre of a tooth (the root canal system). Root canal treatment is also called endodontics. The infection is caused by bacteria that live in the mouth and causes cavities and invade the tooth when:

  • Tooth decay occurs
  • Fillings leak
  • Teeth are damaged by trauma, such as a fall

What are the signs of needing endodontic treatment?
Signs to look for include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, tenderness to touch and chewing, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling, drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes as well as nearby bone and gingival tissues. Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms.

Endodontic retreatment

As occasionally happens with any dental or medical procedure, a tooth may not heal as expected after initial treatment for a variety of reasons:

  • Narrow or curved canals were not treated during the initial procedure.
  • Complicated canal anatomy went undetected in the first procedure.
  • The placement of the crown or other restoration was delayed following the endodontic treatment.
  • The restoration did not prevent salivary contamination to the inside of the tooth.

In other cases, a new problem can jeopardize a tooth that was successfully treated. For example:

  • New decay can expose the root canal filling material to bacteria, causing a new infection in the tooth.
  • A loose, cracked or broken crown or filling can expose the tooth to new infection.
  • A tooth sustains a fracture.