Root canals are the tiny canals that contain the pulp of the tooth, also commonly referred to as the nerve. Any trauma or infection of the nerve will result in the need for root canal therapy.
Common reasons for root canal therapy include:
- Tooth decay invades the tooth, penetrating through the enamel and then the dentine into the pulp.
- A tooth has become abscessed -- also known as infected -- from decay.
- Trauma, such as a chipped or broken tooth, occurs and results in the exposure of the nerve.
- A tooth is slowly dying, due to aging or past trauma that did not result in the need for treatment at the time of injury.
Before the procedure, your dentist will advise you as to the number of appointments necessary to complete the canal, either two or three. If you had an infection or abscess in the tooth, the dentist may choose to have you start antibiotics before completing the root canal. Chances are, following the root canal therapy, your dentist will recommend having a crown put on to the tooth. Since the nerve and blood supply to the tooth has been taken away, the tooth may become brittle over time, resulting in a cracked tooth. A crown is designed to prevent this from happening.