This refers to root canal treatment; a type of procedure carried out to deal with an infection within the centre of the tooth (otherwise known as the root canal system).
This infection is caused by a number of factors which include an injury, severe tooth decay or a leaking filling.
The branch of dentistry which deals with root canal treatment is ‘endodontics’.
What is the root canal?
The root canal system in a tooth contains the soft centre such as the pulp and runs from the crown (top) of the tooth down to the root (bottom).
The pulp is a very sensitive part of the tooth which contains the nerves and blood vessels. But this can become infected with bacteria which cause it to eventually die. Bacteria then spread out of the root canal and infects the tissues around the bottom of the tooth.
The tooth becomes painful as a result and in severe cases, can lead to facial swelling. This is a characteristic feature of a dental abscess which occurs due to infection within the tooth.