Each tooth is made of a hard outer shell that protects the dental pulp, which lies within the centre of the tooth and contains blood vessels and nerves. The outer protective layers can be damaged by various processes such as tooth decay or clenching and grinding that causes cracks or fracture of the tooth. As a result bacteria will enter the pulp and cause inflammation, infection and toothache. Signs of an inflamed and damaged pulp may include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, swelling and tenderness of the overlying gums or a bad taste in the mouth. On the other hand, there may be no symptoms at all.
Root canal treatment is required in order to stop any toothache, remove the infected and inflamed pulp tissue and seal the pulp space in order to prevent more bacteria from entering and causing further infection. It is a skilled and precise procedure that can involve two or more visits in order to complete.