The root canal is a hollow chamber inside the roots of your tooth that extends down to the end of the root, below your gum line. In a healthy tooth, this chamber contains healthy pulp and nerve tissue.
Cracking or decay can cause the pulp tissue to become infected, right down to the base of the root canal. The infection can generate pus and swelling, like an abscess, which is painful. The procedure known as “root canal” is simply the removal of this infected matter and the nerve, and plugging the hollow canal with a permanent filling. Usually you also need a crown because the procedure requires drilling through the upper surface of the tooth.
Nowadays, a root canal treatment is a relatively simple and painless procedure that may require two or three visits to your dentist. The result should be a saved tooth that can last a lifetime.
Typically, these are the most common reasons that give rise to the infection which may require root canal treatment:
Damage to the tooth such as a break or a crack
A deep cavity that was left untreated
Other injury to the tooth that may be invisible
The best advice we can give you is to book check-ups with your dentist every six months. Then the causes can be identified long before they give rise to the need for root canal treatment.