A root canal (endodontic treatment) procedure involves the removal of unhealthy or infected pulp tissue within the tooth. The hard tissues which are the dentine and enamel remain after the treatment so the tooth is still there. Thereafter, the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Often, the tooth is restored with a crown to mitigate cracks and maintain a seal over the access. If one does not treat an infected pulp, the tissue surrounding the tooth can become infected, leading to the formation of abscesses.
When a pulp is damaged irreversibly, it breaks down. In some cases if there is tooth decay and there is an ingress of bacteria, that bacteria starts to multiply within the pulp chamber. The bacteria and other decayed debris may cause an infection and an abscess..
An abscess can form at the end of the tooth roots when the infection spreads. This often causes pain, swelling, bone loss and drainage problems extending outward from the root.
A tooth’s nerve and pulp becomes inflamed, irritated and infected because of deep decay, repeated dental procedures on a tooth or large fillings, a chip or crack in the tooth or trauma to the tooth.
Because of the varying and complex anatomy of the tooth’s roots, sometimes, it may take more than one visit for a dentist to complete the procedure. Most cases are performed over 2 visits several weeks apart.