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Root Canal Treatment

What is Root Canal Treatment?

A tooth crown consists of an enamel layer which is hard and white, and a thicker layer called dentine. These outer hard layers protect the pulp which is the inner soft inner tissue of the tooth. There are nerves and blood vessels in the pulp which stretches from the tooth root to the crown.

If the pulp becomes inflamed or infected, root canal treatment can be undertaken to remove the affected pulp tissue.


There are several reasons that the pulp could become inflamed or infected. It could be as a result of:

  • Severe gum disease
  • Deep decay
  • An extensive restoration which affected the pulp
  • A broken tooth caused by trauma
  • Too much wearing of enamel and dentine exposing the pulp


It may be an indication of pulp damage if you feel pain, experience continued sensitivity to heat or cold, have discolouration of the tooth, your gums swell or feel tender or you have an unexplained bad taste in your mouth.

But conversely, you might not have any symptoms at all. Untreated pulp infection or inflammation can lead to swelling, pain and the deterioration of the underlying bone.


If you have a tooth that needs to be extracted, root canal treatment is an alternative that allows you to keep your original tooth. This is appealing to many people.

Once a root canal treatment is completed, all the pulp will have been removed from your tooth. This means the tooth has no vital tissues inside it.

But vital tissues still surround the root of the tooth. These include supporting bone, the periodontal membrane and the gum. Teeth on which root canal treatment has been performed can be looked after with regular oral hygiene measures and dental care and will work like normal teeth.


Root canal treatments are performed under anaesthetic which makes them comparatively comfortable and in many cases painless. Your tooth may feel sensitive or tender following the procedure, but this will only last for a few days. This is caused by the swelling of the tissues in the surrounding area.

You can counter any discomfort you experience with over-the-counter analgesics or painkillers. If you were to encounter more persistent or severe pain or inflammation, your dentist will be able to help.

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