Chances are you or a family member have been told that a root canal is necessary to save a tooth; perhaps root canal therapy is already underway. In either case, it’s important to understand what will happen during root canal treatment and why this procedure is necessary to save the tooth.
Why Root Canal Treatment?
If you have been told that a root canal is necessary to save one of your teeth, it is important that you understand why this procedure is necessary and what happens during root canal treatment. Root canal treatment (Endodontics) treats disorders of the nerve (also called the pulp) of the tooth. It used to be that a tooth with a diseased or infected nerve had to be removed. In 95 percent of the cases today, however, this is no longer true. We believe in saving teeth (instead of removing them). We make every effort to help you keep your natural teeth for a lifetime!
What Makes a Root Canal Necessary?
The following are the most common factors contributing to a need for root canal treatment:
- Physical irritation caused by deep decay or a very large filling
- Severe gum disease
- Trauma, such as a physical blow to a tooth or a constant striking of a tooth in the opposite jaw that traumatizes the tooth
Regardless of the initial cause, the tooth pulp becomes irritated and infected. Bacteria grow within the tooth pulp, causing pressure and pain, sometimes accompanied by swelling of the face. Sometimes the deterioration of the pulp happens so gradually that little pain is felt. Either way, eventually the bacteria can destroy the pulp. As this happens, the bone surrounding the tooth may become infected and abscessed, which may lead to the destruction of the bone surrounding the tooth.
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