Root canal treatment, also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy, is needed when a cavity reaches all the way to the pulp. In some cases, however, deep restorations or trauma to a tooth may cause the nerve to be damaged to the point it needs root canal treatment. Once this occurs, the pulp becomes infected and can even extend through the root tip causing deterioration of the surrounding bone structures. By the time the pulp is infected, it must be treated, as it cannot heal on its own. Infected pulp can even weaken the entire immune system, which is both potentially dangerous and can be painful. Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot and cold food or drinks, pain, swelling, pain from 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. A root canal is then performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp and disinfect the canals of the tooth. The only other dental treatment would be to extract the tooth. Once the infection is resolved, the canal(s) are filled in to prevent any further infection. In most cases, a core build-up and crown is recommended for restoring a tooth that has had root canal therapy. Depending on the severity of your root canal, we may recommend extracting the tooth and having an implant and restoration placed instead of root canal treatment; this option may be more practical in the long term.

Fore more information on root canal treatment or to schedule an appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact us today at (931) 528-6547!