Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is injured or infected causing pain to hot/cold foods and/or bite pressure. Swelling of the area is the most visible sign of an infected tooth. Treatment of this infection involves opening the tooth through the top and cleaning the inside area of the tooth and the small area down each root with a disinfectant. A specialized material is used to fill the area and seal it from re-infection. Following root canal therapy, the affected tooth will need to be filled or need a crown.
Root canal therapy was first used in the 1970s. At that time, it was a long, tedious, and painful procedure. Over the years, the technique has changed, and root canal therapy has become a much shorter and oftentimes painless procedure.