Root canal, or endodontic treatment, can save your smile and relieve a toothache. It is an alternative to having the tooth removed and replaced by an artificial tooth, and many people prefer this because no matter how good a replacement can be, it will never feel exactly like a real tooth.
Contrary to popular belief, the procedure is not a painful experience and is similar to having a filling. The toothache is usually relieved after the first visit, where the inflamed or infected pulp tissue (the ‘nerve’) is removed. However, it can take another visit or two to finish shaping and disinfecting the root canals, before sealing them with a rubber material called gutta percha.
After the root canal treatment is finished, a crown or filling that covers the top of the tooth is needed to prevent it from splitting.
There are occasions where a tooth may need a root canal treatment but is not causing pain. Unfortunately it is only a matter of time before the infection builds up enough to cause pain. This is why your dentist takes x-rays at your regular check-up appointments, to try to detect such problems, allowing you to have it fixed before pain arises.