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A root canal treatment is a professional treatment aiming at removing your tooth's pulp, the inner part of the tooth. After the pulp is removed because of damage, infection or disease, the space where it used to reside is cleaned and filled up. Before root canal treatments, teeth affected by infections or severely damaged were extracted;  today, thanks to this procedure, teeth are saved. As for the causes that damage the pulp, the moast common ones are broken teeth, cavities, dental trauma. If an infected pulp is not treated, bacteria attack root canals all the way up to the jawbone, forming abscesses.

Root canal treatment involves different stages of a process that are carried out throughout a series of visits:

1. Firstly, the affected tooth is opened either through it'd back side or crown.

2. Once the infected pulp is removed, the space where the pulp used to be is thoroughly cleaned up.

3. In case more visits are needed, the space is filled with a temporary filling.

4. Once the temporary filling is taken out, the space is filled with a permanent filling.

5. Finally, a crown is used to cap the tooth and give it its natural shape and color.

Once a tooth has been treated this way, it can last for a lifetime if taken care of. The most important thing is to carry on with your dental hygiene routine just like with your natural teeth and bear in mind that a tooth that underwent a root canal treatment and has no pulp in it is prone to fractures.

So why and when would you need a root canal treatment? The most common reason that requires for you to undergo this treatment is an infection. For example, untreated cavities lead to bacteria reaching your tooth's pulp. Once the pulp is infected, you need to have it removed before destroying the tooth completely. Another common cause of pulp damage is a fractured tooth. Sometimes though even is the pulp suffers from an inflammation, there is a chance it will heal on its own.

On the other hand, if you do require a root canal treatment but you don't go through with it, in time you will have to have your tooth extracted. Once you have your root canal treatment, your tooth may last a lifetime.

As for the symptoms of pulp infection, you may not feel pain at first. In time, you might experience the following symptoms:
  • pain when the tooth is in contact with other teeth or food
  •  you might experience tooth sensitivity
  • you might notice swelling around the tooth
  • tooth discoloration may occur

If you experience any of the above-described symptoms, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Preventing further damages to the tooth is vital in order to save it.