A common misconception is that a "root canal" is a painful procedure. Actually, root canals are similar to having a cavity filled, producing minimal discomfort.
Common causes for the need of endodontic treatment:
- Inflamed/infected tooth pulp
- Severe sensitivity to hot and cold elements
- Tooth decay
- Chipped or broken tooth
- Blow to the tooth
- Swelling or tenderness near the infected tooth
- Repeated dental procedures on a tooth
The inner layer of the tooth is made up of a soft tissue called pulp. Once the pulp becomes infected or inflammed, then the tooth requires root canal therapy. Root canal treatment follows the removal of decayed tissue, if any. The soft pulp tissue is then removed, cleaned and sealed back up.
It is important, especially on premolars and molars, that root canal treatments be followed by proper restoration with full coverage porcelain. Skipping this vital step can drastically decrease the likelihood of long term succes of the root canal therapy.
Once a root canal has been completed and a crown has been bonded to the tooth, the tooth will usually not need further treatment for a long time, if ever.