Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is made necessary when a cavity is allowed through neglect to reach all the way to the pulp (regular cleanings and checkups prevent and detect problems early). Sometimes deep restorations or trauma to a tooth may cause the nerve to be damaged to the point it needs root canal therapy. Once this occurs the pulp may become infected or simply loose its blood supply and dies. Irritants then can extend through the root tip and begin to erode away the surrounding bone (this is an abscess). By the time the pulp is damaged it must be treated, and cannot heal on its own. It can even weaken the entire immune system. This is dangerous not to mention very painful. Symptoms that the pulp has become damaged or infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth. Sometimes, however, no symptoms are apparent and the person is unaware of any problem until a checkup and x-ray may find a cyst.
A root canal is then performed to clean out the damaged tooth pulp and cleanse the canals of the tooth. The only other option would be to extract the tooth. Once the inflammation/infection is resolved, the canal(s) are filled in to prevent further infection. Usually a crown is recommended for restoring a tooth that has had root canal therapy to restore the tooth’s strength.
Call us today to schedule a consultation!