The pulp is soft tissue inside the canal or channel that runs through the root of the tooth. It consists mainly of blood vessels and nerve fibres. If the pulp becomes inflamed due to a cavity or trauma, symptoms develop. These may include pain, sensitivity to heat or cold, discolouration of the tooth and swelling or soreness in the gums around the tooth.
A root canal or endodontic treatment involves removal of the dead pulp, cleaning and sterilising of the root canals then sealing with a material to prevent further infection. This may take several appointments. A tooth requiring root canal treatment is often much weaker due to deep fillings or decay so it may be necessary to restore the tooth with a crown or complex restoration after the root canal treatment has been completed.