Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic therapy, is needed when the pulp (the nerve and blood supply) of the tooth is damaged or dies. Decay progression takes time and can be avoided with routine cleanings at your dentist. Root canal treatments are also needed if the pulp gets damaged due to trauma.
Root canal treatment needs to be performed because once the nerve becomes damaged, infection starts at the pulp and spreads to the root tip. At this point, it eats away at your bone and an abscess forms.
If you are suddenly sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks, you may have an infected pulp. You may also notice pain, swelling, and a bad taste in your mouth. You must treat your pulp if it becomes infected. It won’t get better on its own. You may even get sicker because the infection will weaken your immune system. It is also very painful. Even though it is normally painful, there are times when you won’t realize that you have a problem until you are at your dentist for your routine checkup.
When we perform endodontic therapy, we clean out the infected pulp. We then disinfect the root canals. Once the infection is all cleared out and the canals shaped, we fill in the canals so that they can’t get infected again. We may recommend a post and core buildup and crown to keep your tooth strong!
The only other option is to extract the tooth, though we always prefer to save the tooth if we can.
Don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions.