A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or infected. A tooth's nerve and pulp tissue can become irritated, inflamed, and infected due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures, or large fillings, a crack, or chip in the tooth. It also can happen because of trauma.
Root canal treatment is usually successful. But in time, teeth may become reinfected because of decay, cracks, or leakage around old fillings and crowns. Retreatments involve disassembly and corrective procedures that allow for the tooth to be properly cleaned and sealed again.
There are many surgical procedures that can be performed to save a tooth. The most common surgery is called an apicoectomy, or root-end resection, which involves removing a few millimetres from the end of a root. This may be needed when inflammation or infection persists in the bone around a tooth after a root canal.
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