Removal of the infected or inflamed pulp is the first step in saving the tooth. Under local anesthetic, an opening is made in the crown of the tooth to get access to the infected or inflamed pulp within.
Using small, specially designed hard or rotary files, the root canals are cleaned and shaped to a form that can be sealed. Debris with the canal is removed by flushing with an anti-bacterial solution.
The canals are finally filled or sealed with an inert material called gutta-percha. The tooth should be restored to full shape and function by either a permanent filling or a crown, depending on how much of the tooth is left. This should be done as soon as possible as there could be a risk of tooth fracture due to biting forces.
All root canal treatment procedures are done by isolating the tooth with a rubber dam to provide a clean and saliva-free environment. Root canal treatment may be done in single or multiple visits depending on tooth complexity. In between treatment appointments, medicament may be placed within the canals and the tooth is covered with a temporary filling.
Often, X-rays are taken to determine the length of the root and to monitor the various treatment stages.