The underlying cause for an infection in the dental pulp is usually an untreated, progressed tooth decay. An infection in the dental pulp is usually treated by using root canal therapy. The infected tissue is mechanically removed, the canals inside the tooth are disinfected and treated using a local medicinal substance. Root canal therapy usually requires several visits to the dentist. Finally, the treated root-canal cavity is filled and a filling or a crown is placed on the tooth.

How is a root canal performed?

An infection in the dental pulp is usually treated by using root canal therapy. A root canal is performed by opening up the infected tooth, mechanically removing the infected tissue from inside the tooth (image on top left), and the root canals are then disinfected by using rinsing solutions.

If the dental pulp is still alive, the tooth is anesthetized before the procedure Possible general symptoms can be treated, using a course of antibiotics.

Treatment of an infection may require several visits. The posterior teeth usually have a minimum of three roots, so their root canal treatment takes more time than the front teeth with only one root.

When the infection has been treated, the root canals are filled with filling agents (image on top right). After this, a filling or a crown is placed on the tooth.

However, sometimes the infection has spread so far that the tooth cannot be saved, and it is then best to extract the tooth.